Climate change is already happening. Regardless of international progress to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, the climate system will continue to adjust for the next few decades to past and present emissions. This will bring unavoidable impacts on natural and human systems, presenting the challenge of a second response to climate change - adaptation - to prepare for and cope with these impacts. Climate change is a real concern for the sustainable development of agriculture, both globally and within the EU. Although agriculture is a complex and highly evolved sector, it is still directly dependent on climate, since heat, sunlight and water are the main drivers of crop growth. While some aspects of climate change such as longer growing seasons and warmer temperatures may bring benefits, there will also be a range of adverse impacts, including reduced water availability and more frequent extreme weather. These impacts may put agricultural activities, certainly at the level of individual land managers and farm estates, at significant risk. The European Commission has recently adopted a Green Paper entitled ‘Adapting to climate change in Europe – options for EU action’ (COM(2007) 354). This sets out options to help the adaptation process and focuses on four priority areas, including early action to avoid damage and reduce overall costs. Adaptation efforts need to be stepped up at all levels and in all sectors, and need to be coordinated across the EU. The Commission will publish a White Paper containing more concrete policy proposals in 2008.