Once climate change begins, simultaneous action must be taken on two levels:
First, only an immediate and drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will slow the serious repercussions associated with climate change: this action is to mitigate climate change.
Second, societies around the world must accept the challenge of adapting to climate change by reducing vulnerability and adapting stakeholders and territories to the change: this action is to adapt to climate change. Indeed, adaptation measures have become an inevitable and indispensable complement to measures that reduce GHG emissions.
Strategies to mitigate climate change have made great progress over the last twenty years. Today, we have a much better understanding of which measures help control greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, tools have been created to limit these emissions, at the European and local level. However, efforts undertaken in this area must continue to be strengthened.
In contrast, adaptation strategies to climate change have emerged relatively recently. Held up by the lack of knowledge, initial efforts were focused primarily on implementing research programmes.
Within this context, the CTP and its members have made a commitment to climate adaption, under the framework of the Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory, to track the transformation of the particularly vulnerable Pyrenees mountain region and urgently support a adaptation strategy for the territory.
What is adaptation?
Adaptation is defined as “the adjustment of natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, in order to reduce damage and take advantage of positive aspecta”. 
The term “adaptation”, therefore, indicates measures taken in response to climate change. It is a question of taking current changes into account, but also being able to anticipate the changes ahead. Adaptation aims to reduce the risks and damage associated with current and future negative impacts in an economically efficient manner and, when possible, take advantage of potential benefits.
It is about proactive measures that reduce the vulnerability of stakeholders and territories to climate change. Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is able to cope with the adverse effects of climate change (including increased climate variability and extreme conditions). Vulnerability depends on the nature, extent, and rate of climate change, but also the variations to which the system is exposed, its sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. .
One of the main challenges of climate change adaption is making decisions in a context of uncertainty. Indeed, it is impossibe to exactly predict the climate’s future, especially because of the difficulty of reproducing the long-term behavior of climate systems and the uncertainty of the international community’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Therefore, European authorities advise giving particular priority, where possible, to “useful in any case” measures, i.e. those that are economically and ecologically justifed regardless of climate trends.
Figure 1 : Example of a no regret measure
Furthermore, the impacts of climate change vary, and vary widely, from one area to another depending on geographical, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts.
Therefore, adaptation to climate change should be designed primarily at the local and regional level, and solutions must be tailored to each region and each sector relative to those involved.
Monitor climate change adaptation in the Pyrenees
Taking into account the anticipation and management of current problems, decision makers (and in a more general sense, stakeholders in economic development), should be equipped with the means, knowledge, and tools to make the best possible decisions for the territory regarding adaptation strategies.
Therefore, in addition to monitoring and understanding climate trends in the Pyrenees, the Observatory aims to anticipate climate change impacts on socioeconomic sectors and identify the most vulnerable areas of the mountain range, to help them adapt to this phenomenon. Therefore, in August 2011, the OPCC initiated a study to:
• identify and analyse the field’s most relevant adaptation measures, in the Pyrenees and Europe;
• assess practices that might be transferable to the Pyrenees, to be circulated and applied specifically in the region.
Certain territories and stakeholders, both in Europe and the Pyrenees, have committed to implementing concrete adaptation measures to limit the effects of climate change on their respective territories, and help adapt to them.
While certain measures are evident and recognised, others contribute to reducing the vulnerability of certain sectors to climate change, and are therefore still considered “adaptation” strategies.
The CTP and members of the Pyrenees Climate Change Observatories are committed to raising awareness among stakeholders in the Pyrenees about climate change and its effects, as well as supporting them on the road to adaptation by providing assessements of adaptation measures being carried out in the field.
This downloadable brochure is the continuation of the Observatory’s first publication in September 2010 on the vulnerability of the Pyrenees mountain region to climate change. It anticipates the publication of a series of tools to show regional support for the implementation of concrete adaptation measures, due out in late 2012.
Actions carried out by the Observatory are intended to eventually support the development of an adaptation strategy for climate change in the Pyrenees.
Download brochure in French, Spanish and English
 - GIEC (2007) - Bilan 2007 des changements climatiques, Contribution des groupes de travail I, II, III au quatrième Rapport d’évaluation du Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat. GIEC, 103 p.
 – OPCC (2010) – Mutualisation de la connaissance sur l’impact du changement climatique en montagne, 11p.
* Study on Adaptation to climate change in the Pyrenees. Project CTP – Région Midi-Pyrénées. Realisation by ACTeon (France), BC3 (Spain), Fresh’Thoughts (Austria).