Adaptation to climate change

Scotland is already experiencing the effects of climate change, such as warmer summers and wetter winters. 

Climate projections for the next century indicate that these trends will not only continue, but intensify. Read the latest summary for Scotland of the scientific information from the UK Met Office Climate Projections.

Adapting and building resilience to the impacts of climate change will be necessary, alongside our actions to reduce emissions. Many of these impacts are now “locked in” as a result of the historic and ongoing emissions at the global scale. 

Action on adaptation means preparing for the impacts of climate change which cannot be avoided. This can mean managing these through schemes such as flood risk infrastructure, it can also mean raising awareness and building resilience  through initiatives like the Living with Flooding Action Plan.

Our climate change adaptation programme

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires the preparation of strategic programmes for climate change adaptation, as soon as reasonably practicable after each round of UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. The evidence reports that underpin these risk assessments, including a national summary for Scotland, can be found at the Climate Change Committee (CCC)’s UK Climate Risk website. The Act also then requires annual reporting to the Scottish Parliament on progress to delivering these strategic programmes and for the CCC’s Adaptation Committee to prepare two reports within the lifetime of each programme setting out its independent assessment of the progress made towards its objectives, proposals and policies.

The second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP) was launched in September 2019 and outlines how Scotland is preparing for the impacts of climate change over the period to 2024. It responds to the risks set out in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (UK CCRA) 2017, published under section 56 of the UK Climate Change Act 2008. The programme follows an outcomes-based approach, derived from both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Scotland’s National Performance Framework

We have published annual reports on progress to Scotland’s adaptation programmes since 2015. The first two annual progress reports on the second SCCAP, the most recent one published in May 2021, can be viewed below:

The previous progress reports on the first SCCAP (which covered the period 2014 to 2019) can be accessed as follows:

Driving adaptation across Scotland

We also fund the Adaptation Scotland programme to provide practical advice and support to help organisations, businesses and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Examples of initiatives supported through the programme include the Adaptation Capability Framework tool.

Research 

Expanding and improving the evidence base around climate change adaptation through research is vital to help support the implementation of adaptation policy and achieve the high-level outcomes set out in the current SCCAP. 

A few examples of recently published research projects in the adaptation space include the following: