The Climate Change Act 2008
The Climate Change Act 2008 integrated the issue of climate change into UK legislation and requires the Government to publish key documents to help the UK reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the risks from climate change. These documents include defined carbon budgets, a UK wide climate change risk assessment and a national adaptation plan.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), also established under the Climate Change Act 2008, advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets, and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.
Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change
The CCC report, published on 29 June 2017 in three volumes, presents the CCC’s and ASC’s most up to date evidence and recommendations to Parliament on the UK’s progress to meeting its climate change objectives, pursuant to Section 36 (1) and Section 59 (1) of the Climate Change Act 2008.
The CCC and ASC highlight that two new plans covering emissions reductions and actions to prepare for climate change are needed now to meet the UK’s climate change objectives. These plans, to be developed by Government could help to deliver better policy, leading to new opportunities to create multiple benefits from action to address climate change.
The first plan, covering emissions reductions, requires Government to place before Parliament the proposals and policies for meeting the UK commitment to achieve the domestic budgets outlined in the fourth carbon budget and fifth carbon budget reports, and to the Paris Agreement (see more in a previous ADAS article here). The CCC note that many existing policies are running out and additional new policies are required.
The second plan, covering actions to prepare for climate change, requires Government to lay before Parliament proposals and policies that address the risks outlined in the CCRA. The new National Adaptation Programme (NAP) will set out the objectives, policies and proposals for adapting to climate impacts. The CCC note that work to update the NAP is required now so that it can be published in early 2018.
To view or download the full report(s), please click on the links above or go to https://www.theccc.org.uk/publications/.
Progress in preparing for climate change
The Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC), which is part of the CCC, support the CCC in advising and reporting on progress in adaptation. Volume 3 of the report sets out the ASC’s second assessment of the National Adaptation Programme, which drives action to prepare for climate change impacts.
Key findings from the ASC report show that some action has been taken to address the risks from climate change, including important steps to fund and improve river and coastal flood defences and to improve the resilience of energy, transport and water infrastructure to severe weather, but the overall state of the natural environment is worsening, reducing its resilience to climate change. An infographic summarising some of the key points from the ASC report can be found here.
The ASC report was supported by research from ADAS, who provided an assessment of more than 70 indicators of climate change risk and adaptation action in England. The indicators assessed climate change risk and adaptation action across a number of key areas including the built environment, business and infrastructure, healthy and resilient communities, agriculture and forestry, and the natural environment.
The ADAS supporting research accompanies the Adaptation Sub-Committee’s ‘2017 Report to Parliament: Progress in preparing for climate change’ and can be downloaded here.
To find out more about how ADAS can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or identify climate impacts and opportunities for adapting to climate, please contact Charles.Ffoulkes@adas.co.uk.