Scottish climate change adaptation programme: progress report 2016

Second annual progress report on the Scottish climate change adaptation programme.


Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement provides certainty about the global low-carbon future in the same way that the Climate Change Act (Scotland) in 2009 provided certainty for Scotland's low-carbon future. The Agreement provides a clear international context for Scotland's action on climate change.

The Paris Agreement puts a strong emphasis on adaptation and resilience. It puts adaptation on a par with mitigation, and links the two. The Agreement sets a global goal of "enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal".

All countries are expected to undertake adaptation planning and action, and communicate those actions to the global community.

The Paris Agreement recognises the important role of "non-state actors" - including devolved, state and regional governments, cities, businesses, and the public - who we expect will be strong drivers of a progressive climate agenda in the years ahead.

Scotland's Climate Actions

Scotland has signed the Under 2 MOU, an initiative of the governments of California and Baden-Württemberg, pledging to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050. A total of 128 jurisdictions representing 28 countries and six continents have signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU. Together, they represent more than 740 million people and $20.7 trillion in GDP, equivalent to more than a quarter of the global economy.

Scotland has also signed the Compact of States and Regions, which pledges us to report on progress on emissions cuts to the international community. The Compact currently has the support of 44 governments together representing one eighth of the global economy, which by 2050 aim to cut emissions equalling world greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.

Scotland is playing its part in assisting vulnerable communities in poorer countries adapt to climate change. At the Paris conference, the First Minister pledged a further doubling of our climate justice support for some of the world's poorest people, with £12 million over four years. £6 million has been given previously from our innovative Climate Justice Fund for 11 water adaptation projects in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda. In addition, £3.8 million has been given from our International Development Fund since 2012 for community energy projects in Malawi. In Africa, Malawi suffered its worst flooding in memory in January 2015 and Scottish-funded boreholes helped reduce the incidence of cholera and saline water after those floods.

Adaptation Annual Report

Section 54 of the Climate Change Act (Scotland) 2009 requires Scottish Ministers to provide an annual report on progress towards achieving the objectives and implementing the proposals and policies set out in the Programme.

This second report provides an update of the progress set out in the Programme since the first progress report published in May 2015.

This report is not an in depth assessment of how well Scotland is preparing for climate change. The Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change ( ASC) has been asked to prepare an independent assessment, due to be published in September 2016, which will evaluate Scotland's preparedness, based on assessing the implications of trends identified by indicators developed by ClimateXChange, alongside reviewing the long-term decision-making of key actors. This will allow the ASC to reach a judgement on whether the Programme is putting in place a policy framework that will enable an appropriate level of adaptation over the time period of the Programme and beyond.

Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme

Scotland's first statutory climate change adaptation programme (2014) sets out the Scottish Government's on-going commitment to ensuring Scottish Government policy, as far as possible, helps Scotland adapt to the effects of climate change. It contains a comprehensive package of measures that:

  • helps Scotland adapt to the effects of climate change;
  • creates a more resilient country for us to live and work in; and
  • helps to protect Scotland's much loved natural environment.

At the heart of the Programme are Scottish Ministers' objectives, proposals and policies for addressing the key impacts identified for Scotland in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012 (to be updated in January 2017).

The objectives set the long-term framework for adaptation in Scotland and the proposals and policies provide the focus for the lifetime of this Programme in order to progress towards these long-term objectives.

We are working to achieve our national adaptation objectives not only through integrating adaptation within Scottish Government policies, but through encouraging and facilitating partnership working across organisations, businesses, the public sector and individuals across Scotland.

And we are building partnerships to improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change. Where we need to continue to build the evidence base, our policies need to be flexible to respond to new information as it becomes available.

Adaptation Scotland Programme

The Adaptation Scotland programme continues to support organisations, business and communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change through connecting science and practice and building strong partnerships for planning and action.

The Adaptation Scotland programme supports strong links between researchers, policy makers and practitioners. New research on 'Financing Infrastructure and Built Environment Adaptation to Climate Change' (Roilech K, October 2015) has been published in partnership with ClimateXChange, the University of Leeds and the ARCC network. This work has been used to raise awareness of opportunities and barriers to financing action and, included as evidence in the current UK Climate Change Risk Assessment.

The Adaptation Scotland programme has supported the introduction of mandatory reporting against the Public Bodies Climate Change Duties. The programme produced the adaptation reporting questions and associated guidance and ran training for Sustainable Scotland Network members to encourage submission of voluntary reports in October 2015.

Building capacity for organisations, businesses and communities to adapt to climate change

The Adaptation Learning Exchange, run as part of the Adaptation Scotland Programme, continues to build capacity and bring adaptation leaders together to develop solutions. Major public sector organisations including Scottish Water, Historic Environment Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Health Facilities Scotland are members and have worked together to make significant progress with assessing climate risks.

A growing network of community and public sector partners are being equipped through the Adaptation Scotland programme to engage communities in adapting to climate change. For example, partnership work with Planning Aid for Scotland (Pas) is enabling communities to discuss adaptation as part of Charrette plus TMcommunity engagement projects. New workshop resources produced with the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network ( SCCAN) are enabling SCCAN members to hold community conversations and identify ways in which communities can increase resilience and adapt.

Creating and supporting collaborations and partnerships for adaptation

Adaptation Scotland's partnership projects are enabling joint action and collaboration. The programme's work with the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has led to a published Climate Ready Biosphere vision and action plan.


Email: Roddy Maclean,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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