Getting started: basic adaptation resources

Climate change is already here

Climate change is receiving unprecedented attention at the moment. Zero carbon is the main focus, but even if we achieve net zero tomorrow, a certain amount of climate change is now unavoidable and will continue to unfold for another few decades. And it’s already evident. To put it into context:

  • The top ten warmest years in the UK have all occurred since 2002.
  • 25 July 2019 saw the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, reaching 38.7 degrees C.
  • 2009 to 2018 was 1 degree warmer than the preindustrial period
  • Summer 2018 was the warmest summer ever recorded in England
  • June 2018 was the driest June on record since 1925, with no appreciable rainfall
  •  2015-19 is set to be the hottest five years ever recorded.

For more on observed climate change, in the UK see the Met Office’s State of the UK Climate 2018: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/joc.6213

Climate change will make these weather extremes, and the resulting disruption and discomfort, more frequent and severe into the future. Through this century, London expects to see hotter, drier summers, warmer, wetter winters, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Risks may be direct – from weather-related damage to buildings and assets, or indirect – from disruption to business supply chains or the infrastructure we rely upon, such as IT systems, transportation, or energy. London’s people, places, and infrastructure need to be ready.

 

Getting started

When considering adaptation, it helps to focus on areas of your work that are most likely to be affected by climate. A simple set of questions can help you determine whether climate risks are relevant to you and require further assessment:

  • Do you make decisions or investments with long lifetimes?
  • Do your decisions carry a high degree of “lock in?” That is, would they be difficult and/or expensive to reverse or retrofit later?
  • Are important aspects of your work weather-sensitive? Do you already experience impacts from weather?
  • Are you dependent on infrastructure or supply chains that could be disrupted due to weather?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then adaptation is something you need to consider.

Adaptation can be confusing, but there are simple ways to begin. The LCCP encourages partners to begin with a review of their own aims and objectives–and how these might be affected by current weather and potential future climate.

These two guides describe this approach and provide simple steps to starting on the adaptation journey:

How do you adapt in an uncertain world?

A User’s Guide to Applied Adaptation Pathways

 

Quick actions

Different organisations will have different ways of considering adaptation, but there are a few basic actions that almost any organisation should consider. These include:

  • Appoint someone in a leadership position with responsibility for adaptation.
  • Ensure that weather-dependent risks are included in corporate and community risk registers and reviewed regularly.
  • Map flood risk to assets, buildings, staff, important travel routes, and others within your area of interest with the Environment Agency’s free flood maps.
  • Sign up for the EA’s flood warning service, and promote sign-up to important suppliers, stakeholders.
  • Identify people who are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts with Climate Just.
  • Follow and promote heatwave advice to your staff and wider networks.
  • Reduce water consumption in your buildings and processes, and promote water saving to others. Thames Water offers free Smarter Business Visits for public and commercial organisations.
  • Map your longer-term decisions and investments to identify opportunities to build in resilience.
  • Require larger suppliers to demonstrate consideration of climate risks to their businesses and operations – through social value frameworks or procurement contracts.

 

Getting more help

The London Climate Change Partnership offers free support and advice about adaptation in London, including peer learning, research, events, and other activities related to sectors and climate risks.  Contact Kristen to find out more.

Other resources:

Early stage overheating risk tool:  This tool provides guidance for how to assess overheating risk in residential schemes at the early stages of design.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD): Produced guidelines for voluntary reporting on climate risks. Find recommendations and help in implementing recommendations, including guidance for financial and non-financial sectors. For businesses but principles apply to other organisations as well.

Good practice guidance for Local Government: Produced by the Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, this guide provides some entry-level and more advanced measures that local authorities can take to be more climate-resilient across service areas, including public health, built environment, infrastructure, natural environment, and their own operations.

Adaptation reports: Government has a collection of adaptation reports from organisations reporting under the Adaptation Reporting Power. Under the Climate Change Act, Government can ask organisations to report on their understanding of risks and action to adapt. These reports can provide insight into how others are considering their risks and the measures needed to address them.

UKCP18 headline findings  provide an overview of the UK climate projections, including the resources available, the observed climate, and future projections for temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise.

We will be adding to this page periodically with other helpful tools, resources, and examples. If you have or come across any useful resources, please send them along!