Table of contents

4.1.1. Types of adaptation actions

Table 4‑1 gives an overview of several generic typologies of adaptation actions that were developed by international organisations. Table 4‑2 presents the typology used in this report, which combines elements of the existing adaptation typologies. Based on the World Bank typology, adaptation actions are grouped into building adaptive capacity and delivering adaptation actions. The ‘building adaptive capacity’ group is further distinguished into ‘information and knowledge’ and ‘policies and framework’ actions, and the ‘delivering adaptation actions’ group comprise ‘management’ and ‘physical’ adaptation actions. Physical adaptation actions comprise both ‘grey’ and ‘green’ actions. ‘Green’ options can play an important role in reducing risks from climate-related hazards while achieving various co-benefits (EEA, 2017a; OECD, 2018). However, two recent reviews of adaptation options in EU energy policy have identified hardly any ‘green’ options, which suggests they have a limited role in strengthening the resilience of the energy system (Capriolo, 2016, section 3.2.5; Ecofys, 2017).

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Table 4‑1 Existing typologies of climate change adaptation actions







(EEA, 2013)

Grey actions

Technological or engineering solutions such as building or strengthening of assets

Creation of flood protection walls around substation infrastructure

Green actions

Ecosystem-based approaches that use the services of nature to improve resilience

Reinforcement of natural wetlands in order to enhance flood defence of infrastructure

Soft actions

Managerial, legal and policy approaches to alter behaviour and governance

Water supply and demand management

World Bank

(Ebinger and Vergara, 2011)

Building adaptive capacity

Collecting and monitoring data, research and awareness raising in order to facilitate the improvement of knowledge systems, improving the capacities of local institutions, forming of partnerships, and supporting public governance

Creation of knowledge platforms, creation of specialized departments within government/ organization, creation of legislation

Delivering adaptation actions

Preventing or reducing risks, sharing responsibility for losses or risks, or creating opportunities

Relocation of site, climate-proofing sites, diversifying energy sources, decentralization of systems


(IEA, 2016b)

Technological and structural measures

Enhancing asset resilience through implementing technological measures to mitigate damage/ reduce losses, or by taking out structural reinforcements or adjustments

Adoption of alternative cooling technologies to reduce water usage, adapting material use to improve durability to withstand extreme weather

Management and siting measures

Modifying management procedures, placing structures in areas deemed less prone to climate change risks

Plants placed in locations based on water access, placing of transmission cables underground

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Table 4‑2 Typology of adaptation actions adopted in this report




Building adaptive capacity

Information and knowledge

Collecting and monitoring data, providing climate services, risk assessments, producing guidelines and other measures that facilitate targeted adaptation

Policies and frameworks

Actions taken by public actors, such as legislation, regulation and standards, which provide obligations, incentives or funding for organisations to take adaptation action.

Delivering adaptation actions


Modifying management procedures of relevant public and private actors (such as infrastructure providers)


Technological or engineering solutions such as siting, building or strengthening of assets; ecosystem-based approaches (where relevant) are also included

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