Climate Change Adaptation in Scotland
The last year has seen a number of major policy developments that provide Scotland with a strong framework for taking forward action to adapt to climate change.
Activity and awareness is increasing and Adaptation Scotland is providing support through a busy work programme. These developments include:
Adapting well to climate change presents a serious challenge for all organisations. Working together to understand the complex and interacting impacts of climate change will be critical to ensuring that organisations adapt in a way that is best for them and others.
In Scotland many organisations are beginning to assess their vulnerability to climate change and are seeking to develop appropriate adaptation strategies, however, there is a need for better coordination and sharing of knowledge and practice.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
Under the Act, provisions are made for a number of items that have a significant bearing on ensuring Scotland adapts to a changing climate, including:
The Scottish Government is developing a Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme to build Scotland's resilience to the unavoidable consequences of a changing climate. See the draft programme that was out for consultation here.
Scotland's first land use strategy was laid before parliament on 17th March, 2011. This is similar to the comprehensive approach to ensure that carbon is fully factored into strategic and local decisions about rural land use envisaged as one of four transformational measures in the Climate Change Delivery Plan.
The Public Bodies Duties, established by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires that Public Bodies, as listed in schedule 2 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 exercise their functions:
- In a way best calculated to contribute to delivery of the Act’s emissions reduction targets
- In a way best calculated to deliver any statutory adaptation programme; and
- In a way that it considers most sustainable
All these are interconnected, as any mitigation efforts can either contribute or detract from adaptation options or benefits, either now or in the future. Principles of sustainability should underpin all activities.
The Climate Change Duties came into force on 1 January 2011. Scottish Government has provided guidance to assist public bodies with compliying with the duties: Public Bodies Climate Change Duties: Putting them into practice.
Scottish Government will continue to work with Adaptation Scotland to ensure an on-going programme of training and guidance for the public sector and to help develop greater understanding of organisations’ roles and responsibilities in responding to climate change.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act requires that ‘The Scottish Ministers must prepare and publish a strategy setting out the steps they intend to take to inform persons in Scotland about the targets specified by virtue of this act, [and] encourage them to contribute to the achievement of those targets’.
The Low Carbon Scotland Public Engagement Strategy was published in December 2010 and sets out the Scottish Government's approach to engaging communities and individuals in achieving a low carbon, well adapted society.
As part of the Low Carbon Scotland Public Engagement Strategy Adatation Scotland is tasked with several actions:
- In 2011, in collaboration with the UK Climate Impacts Programme and Adaptation Scotland, the Scottish Government will produce a set of headline messages on projected changes to our climate and the impacts of those changes. This information will be used to engage with all sectors of society and stimulate debate about what we can do to minimise those impacts.
- Adaptation Scotland will develop a community engagement programme to increase awareness of the impacts of climate change and improve the capacity of communities to adapt to the impacts. The programme will be developed in 2011 and implemented in 2011 and 2012.
- Adaptation Scotland will continue to work with public bodies and develop partnerships to increase awareness of the impacts of climate change and improve the capacity of public bodies and services to adapt to the impacts.
- In 2011 Adaptation Scotland will continue to work with business support organisations, trade associations and enterprise agencies to increase awareness of the impacts of climate change and improve the capacity of Scottish businesses to adapt to the impacts and seize opportunities for growth.
Part 5, Chapter 1 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act states:
‘The Scottish Ministers must lay a programme before the Scottish Parliament. This programme must set out the Scottish Ministers’ objectives in relation to adaptation to climate change, their proposals and policies for meeting those objectives, including the timescales within which the proposals and policies will be introduced and otherwise address the risks identified for Scotland in the Secretary of State’s report. It must also outline arrangements to ensure engagement with stakeholders in delivering the programme, specifically with employers and trade unions and what mechanisms will be used to ensure the public is engaged in meeting the objectives.’
Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Framework reports that:
‘Following the publication of each UKCCRA, the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires Scottish Ministers to lay a programme to adapt to climate change before the Scottish Parliament. This programme must include the Scottish Government's intentions for managing for the risks presented in the UKCCRA. Each programme will also include a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the previous programme, where applicable. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act also requires Scottish Ministers to provide an annual report on progress towards achieving the actions set out in their programme to adapt to climate change.’
‘The aim of the Adaptation Framework is to lead planned adaptation across all sectors to increase the resilience of Scotland's communities, and the natural and economic systems on which they depend, to the impacts of climate change. It will achieve this through the following 3 Pillars:
- The Framework will improve the understanding of the consequences of a changing climate and both the challenges and opportunities it presents;
- The Framework will equip stakeholders with the skills and tools needed to adapt to changing climate; and
- The Framework will integrate adaptation into wider regulation and public policy so that it is a help, not a hindrance, to addressing climate change issues.
'The Adaptation Framework does not seek to guide individuals directly in adapting to climate change. However, the impacts of climate change will have consequences for individuals and individual businesses. Therefore, the Adaptation Framework also establishes support mechanisms to work with local businesses and communities. Local authorities, their Community Planning Partnerships 1 and the Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership (now Adaptation Scotland), will be central in helping their local stakeholders adapt to climate change.'
This Adaptation Framework represents a non-statutory forerunner, necessary to have systems in place to deliver the statutory requirements that come into force in 2012. There is no statutory requirement to report on its progress, but there is a commitment from Scottish Ministers to report progress annually’.’
The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Framework contains a series of accompanying Sector Action Plans outlining the key issues and planned activity for addressing adaptation within sectors. The sector action plans will be regularly updated to reflect key developments.
View the individual Sector Action Plans here.
Adaptation Scotland and the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Framework
Adaptation Scotland was established to “increase the resilience of organisations and infrastructure in Scotland to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the impacts of climate change”. A key part of our work is to provide support for organisations in all sectors to help them deliver the aims and goals outlined in Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework.
A brief overview of links to Adaptation Scotland that are explicitly stated in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Framework, published in December 2009 is available here. The Framework will influence much of Adaptation Scotlands’s activity.
Scottish Climate Change Declaration (SCCD)
In January 2007, all 32 Scottish local authorities, in a demonstration of political unity, signed Scotland's Climate Change Declaration. The Declaration includes commitments both to mitigate our impact on climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to projected change in climate.
You can find information on the Declaration, as well as resources on communicating and delivering the seven commitments, at the Scotland's Climate Change Declaration website. Scotland's Climate Change Declaration acknowledges the reality and importance of climate change and is a means of demonstrating local leadership and commitment to action.
Signatories to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration are committed to producing an annual statement, detailing their progress in mitigating, and adapting to, climate change. These annual statements can be viewed on the Climate Change Declaration website.