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:
For more on observed climate change, in the UK see the Met Office’s State of the UK Climate 2020 (published July 2021).
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.
Considering climate justice
The impacts of climate change will not be evenly or fairly distributed. And while we know that existing inequalities and disadvantages will make some people more vulnerable to climate impacts, we also know that climate impacts will exacerbate these inequalities by taking the biggest toll on poor, marginalized, vulnerable communities.
Consideration of vulnerable populations is important in understanding who is most at risk from climate change, but also in how we shape our adaptation interventions. For example, greening is often seen as a solution with benefits for adaptation, health, amenity, and biodiversity. But the design of public spaces can include or exclude people if it doesn’t reflect the views, values, culture, and priorities of those who might use them. Not all climate action is fair or just. When considering interventions, we need to ask: who benefits? Whose values are reflected in this action? And how can we make sure that our solutions are genuinely inclusive?
There are resources that can help point the way to more inclusive and fair climate action:
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:
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 guides describe this approach and provide simple steps to starting on the adaptation journey:
Different organisations will have different ways of considering adaptation, but there are a few basic actions that almost any organisation should consider. These include:
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.
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!