Climate - Adapting to a changing climate

The Climate will continue to change

Whatever actions are taken now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the climate will continue to change for some decades to come due to the long life of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

Everyone will be affected by climate change.  Organisations, businesses, communities, infrastructure - even the way we do things will be impacted in some way, either directly or indirectly, as climate impacts across the globe will have knock-on effects on all of us.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue, it cuts across all aspects of life as we know it in Scotland

Climate Change in Scotland

We are already seeing evidence of Scotland’s climate changing.  Over the last few decades:

  • our climate has warmed
  • sea-levels have risen
  • rainfall patterns have changed
  • we have been impacted by extreme weather events.  

Climate projections for the next century indicate that the climate trends observed over the last century will continue and intensify over the coming decades due to human activity - this brings with it a wide range of threats and opportunities to the environment, infrastructure, economy and people of Scotland.

Climate Change - Scotland As A World Leader

The Scottish Government recognises climate change will have far reaching effects on Scotland's economy, its people and its environment and is determined to play its part in tackling climate change.

The world-leading Climate Change (Scotland) Act was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in 2009.  Scottish Government emission reduction targets are to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions from a 1990 baseline by 42% by 2020 and 80% 2050.

Climate Change Adaption

Adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. 

By planning and preparing for change now, Scotland will be better placed to take advantage of any opportunities, and can build resilience to the potential negative consequences that this change is bringing.

Scotland’s first statutory Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme was published on 29th May 2014.  The Programme addresses the risks identified for Scotland in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).  A summary of the assessment for Scotland is also available.

Adapting to the consequences of a changing climate requires appropriate action, based on assessments of risk and vulnerability, as well as identifying the opportunities that might be created.

Scotland's Climate Change Stories - Adaptation Scotland

To see more about Scotland's Climate Stories check out Adaptation Scotland's short videos - they also have lots of information on Climate Change Trends, Annual Reports and have tools and resources to help public sector, businesses and communities prepare for a changing climate.

Climate Ready Stirling

Stirling Council's first Adaptation Strategy was adopted in September 2014 and is split into 3 parts: a Strategy Summary and Action Plan and a more detailed Main Issues Report.  Each document is intended to stand alone but together they make up the complete Strategy.  The Main Issues Report outlines evidence for climate change, the expected changes to our climate, and the likely impacts for Scotland. It also provides some evidence that severe weather events area is already affecting the Council and its communities, with operational, reputational, financial and legal consequences.  Further evidence indicates that these changes are part of a trend and that such weather events are likely to become more intense and more frequent, requiring action to reduce their impacts

Stirling Council Weather Impacts Profile

Stirling Council undertook a Weather Impacts Profile, focusing on the years 2000 to 2010, to consider the impact of past severe weather events on service delivery.  This has informed more recent work on how the Council and partners may need to adapt to ensure services continue to be delivered effectively in the face of changes to the climate in the local area.  It is a study of the more extreme weather events that have affected an area in the recent past with an analysis of service responses and can highlight potential vulnerabilities that may become more common in the future if such events become more frequent as a result of a changing climate.

Stirling Council Commitment in Europe - EU Initiatives on Climate Change

The European Commission recognises that, whilst Member States play a crucial role in developing national adaptation plans, the impacts of climate change will be felt at the local level so local authorities are ideally placed to be the key drivers in implementing climate adaptation measures to improve the resilience of local areas.

Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change

Stirling Council signed the Covenant of Mayors' Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change in October 2014.  Signatory authorities commit to submitting a comprehensive local adaptation strategy within 2 years of signing up and a Progress Report, in the form of a self-assessment questionnaire, every second year.  Stirling's first Progress Report is due in Autumn 2016.

EU Cities Adapt

Stirling was one of only 2 UK cities to be selected to participate in the training phase of this project for cities in developing and implementing a climate change adaptation strategy.  The main output from the project was a draft Adaptation Strategy which has been developed through further consultation across Council services into the Council's Adaptation Strategy.

 

 

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