Adaptation to climate change
Scotland is already experiencing the effects of climate change, and this brings both risks and opportunities.
Climate projections for the next century indicate that climate trends observed over the last century will not only continue, but are likely to intensify.
Adapting to climate change will be necessary regardless of how much we manage to cut our emissions, as historic emissions have already changed our climate and will continue to do so in decades to come.
Our climate change adaptation programme
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 placed a duty on ministers to lay a programme for climate change adaptation before the Scottish Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (UKCCRA), the latest of which includes a summary report for Scotland.
The Act also requires an annual report on progress and for the advisory body, the Committee for Climate Change Adaptation Sub Committee (ASC), to prepare a report within two years, setting out its independent assessment of the progress made on objectives, proposals and policies set out in the programme.
We launched the first Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP) in 2014, with the aim of increasing the resilience of Scotland's people, environment and economy to the impacts of a changing climate. In the ASC's independent assessment of SCCAP it recognised the SCCAP as a positive start in taking steps to prepare for climate change.
A further independent assessment is underway currently, with results expected in early 2019.
We have published annual progress reports since 2015: view them below:
- fourth progress report 2018
- third progress report 2017
- second progress report 2016
- first progress report 2015 (archived)
Driving adaptation across Scotland
We fund Adaptation Scotland to provide advice and support to help organisations, businesses and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Key achievements so far, as Scotland adapts to climate change, include:
- new climate change indicators
- new reporting duties for public bodies
- the National Centre for Resilience
- a report mapping areas in Scotland most at risk of flooding
- the National Coastal Change Assessment
- the climate change risk assessment of Historic Environment Scotland's estate
- the third European Climate Change Adaptation Conference
- the Climate Ready Clyde initiative
We are in the process of developing a new five-year, cross-cutting climate change adaptation programme.
This will build on the first adaptation programme and take into account the UKCCRA and ASC independent assessments highlighted above, as well as the next UK climate change projections due in 2019.