Let’s fix and prepare Europe’s critical infrastructure!

With extreme weather events on the rise across the continent, decision makers are realizing quickly that Europe’s critical infrastructure is not equipped to handle the effects of climate change. In response to increasing focus on the importance to upgrade and adapt Europe’s critical infrastructure, the MIRACA project aims to assess the multi-hazard risk to Europe’s critical infrastructure and develop an evidence-based decision support toolkit to help authorities and infrastructure managers develop strategies and adaptation solutions.

Deadly floods in Germany and Belgium. Exceptional wildfire seasons across Spain, Portugal, France, but also Greece, Turkey, Italy and beyond. Increased extreme sea levels along most of Europe’s coastlines with storm and tidal surges particularly strong in the north. Heat waves already pushing airports, power plants, motorways and bridges to their functional limit all across the continent.

The news is daunting.

Europe’s critical infrastructure is not up to the task of withstanding on climate change and extreme weather effects. Fewer than half of the EU’s 27 countries have action plans to manage the impacts of extreme heat for instance, Politico recently reported.In the words of Hendrik Wuest, the governor of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state, where 49 people died in the 2021 floods: “Protecting the climate and preserving creation are the greatest tasks of our time. Adapting to the already existing consequences of climate change is part of that too.”

Human health, standard of living, and, at times, even survival are at stake. 

Critical infrastructure is vital for the state’s survival and includes information systems, transport, energy supply, healthcare, finance, and other public and private services. Major European debates on new vulnerabilities, risks and effective countermeasures to protect critical infrastructure has been mainly mainly occurred within the realm of technical experts over the past two decades. Most of them are operated by private companies, requiring continuous cooperation with public authorities.

But there is momentum for change.

Decision makers are positioning the European Commission to take on a greater support and coordination role to enhance the continent’s preparedness against threats to its critical infrastructure. And now there is a project to assess the multi-hazard risk for Europe’s critical infrastructure for climate adaptation!

MIRACA will develop an evidence-based decision support toolkit that meets those real world demands. It will serve as an interwoven trifecta, combining strategic scrutiny and analysis for adaptation measures with technical support for real world decisions while also providing digital oversight as a near real time online viewer. 

By assessing the comprehensive and compound realities of multi-threat and systemic independencies, MIRACA will provide authorities and critical infrastructure managers with an effective toolkit to test adaptation solutions and strategies that can be tailored to any specific European geographic location. This, in turn, will allow decision makers to turn well-tested strategies into effective action on the ground – quickly. 

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