Debate on Adapting to Climate Change

Last week Andrew Pelling MP led a debate on adaptation to climate change. He argued that strategies for adapting to climate change have not been given sufficient attention so far, as the focus has been on mitigating climate change. Scientific evidence on the impacts of climate change on biological systems and the occurrence of more erratic weather patterns, migration pressures that will arise from climate change, rising sea levels are some of the impacts which will be unavoidable. He noted that the City of London was the first authority to come forward with an adaptation policy and the EU has recently launched a green paper on adapting to climate change in Europe.

Joan Ruddock MP, Parliamentary Under Secretaty of State at Defra reported that the Government are supporting stakeholders with information and tools for adaptation, but acknowledged the need for a more strategic direction. The UK climate impact programme—UKCIP which works on adaptation strategies with local and regional partners has been working on a new set of climate change scenarios which will be published next year. The draft Climate Change Bill places a reporting requirement on the Government which includes an assessment of the risks climate change and the Governments efforts towards adapting to climate change every 5 years. The Government is also currently developing a cross-Government framework on adaptation to climate change.