Scottish climate change adaptation programme: progress report 2018

Fourth annual progress report on the Climate Ready Scotland: Scottish climate change adaptation programme.

Next Steps: New Climate Change Adaptation Programme in 2019

The second statutory five-year Adaptation Programme will be published in 2019. Under the 2009 Act, the Programme must set out progress on the previous Programme, Scottish Ministers' objectives on adaptation, proposals and policies and their timescales, and arrangements for wider engagement.

The new Programme must address the risks for Scotland set out in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 and its Evidence Report Summary for Scotland which identified six priority risk areas where action is needed in the next five years.

In developing the new Programme during 2018, the Scottish Government will build on the good progress made on Scotland's first Adaptation Programme, as reported in this Fourth Annual Report.

The Adaptation Sub-Committee recommended that the Scottish Government in preparing the second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme should:

  • address all urgent risks and opportunities for Scotland;
  • identify a senior owner for each objective to be held accountable for its delivery
  • list the specific actions that will be taken to achieve each objective together with appropriate milestones and timescales
  • introduce an effective monitoring regime to allow impact of actions and delivery of each objective to be properly assessed
  • present the actions being taken within each sector together and coordinate their delivery
  • work with partners and build on the suite of ClimateXChange indicators to develop datasets where progress is most important and develop outcome-based indicators where this is possible.

The Adaptation Sub-Committee recommends an ambitious, focussed Programme of cost-effective actions and research, addressing all of Scotland's priority risks, moving beyond approaches of awareness-raising and capacity-building to concrete actions that measurably reduce our climate risks; and with clear ownership, timescales, co-ordination across themes, and mechanisms to track progress.

A second Independent Assessment from the Adaptation Sub-Committee has been commissioned by Scottish Ministers and is to be carried out in 2018, reporting in early 2019. This will be a key component in the development of the second Adaptation Programme.

The Scottish Government began the development of its second five year Programme in October 2017 with a workshop at Historic Environment Scotland's Engine Shed in Stirling.

We are currently exploring the scope for a more strategic, cross-sectoral, outcomes-driven systems approach (rather than the sectoral or risk/activity-based approaches taken by the 2009 Framework and 2014 Programme). The new Programme should promote co-benefits across wider policy objectives (economic growth, social justice, health and wellbeing etc.) and integrate adaptation into wider policy objective-setting and delivery.

Climate Projections 2018

The UKCP18 Project is responsible for completing a major upgrade of the UK Climate Projections ( UKCP09) using the latest observations, climate models and information from the most recent Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) assessment. Scotland is well represented on the UKCP18 User Group for Government Departments and Other Government Organisations and the non-Government User Group for UKCP18. The Scottish Government and its partners will continue to work with the project team to ensure the projections are best designed to meet Scotland's user needs.

2018 will see the publication of new UK Climate Change Projections ( UKCP18), informing the Government's third Climate Change Risk Assessment (due for completion in 2022). The UKCP18 project will update the UKCP09 projections over UK land areas and update UKCP09 projections of sea-level rise, giving greater regional detail, further analysis of the risks we face, both nationally and globally, and provide more information on potential extremes and impacts of climate change. UKCP18 is a major upgrade on the current set of projections ( UKCP09) giving us the most up-to-date information on the future of our climate. It will help decision-makers assess the full range of risks from the changing climate and help other UK organisations that have to manage climate risks to their assets and operations.

UK Climate Risk Assessment

The UK Government is required under the 2008 Climate Change Act to publish a UK wide Climate Change Risk Assessment ( UKCCRA) every five years, assessing the 'risks for the UK from the current and predicted impacts of climate change'. The first UKCCRA was published in 2012.

In 2016, the Committee on Climate Change published the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report and Synthesis Report, and a National Summary for Scotland. In January 2017 the UK Government published the (second) UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 including a contribution from Scotland.

The Evidence Report used the concept of urgency to summarise the findings of the analysis, variously identifying 'more action needed', 'research priority', 'sustain current action' and 'watching brief' categories. It highlighted:-

  • the need for more action to address flood risks
  • the potential for water scarcity
  • heat related impacts on health and wellbeing
  • risks to the natural environment
  • risks of food price volatility
  • new and emerging pest and disease risks, especially for Scotland's forestry.
  • some actions identified as priorities for other parts of the UK have been shown to have a different urgency category for Scotland at this stage
  • UKCCRA2 will feed into the development of the next UK National Adaptation Programme as well as the national adaptation programmes of the devolved administrations


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