Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)

CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER SECURITY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  1.  The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) would like to inform you of our interest in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry into climate change and water security. UKCIP was established in 1997 by the UK Government to help organisations assess how climate change might affect them and how they might adapt to it. We feel that we have a number of tools, studies and partnerships that will be of interest to the Committee for this inquiry.

INTRODUCTION

  2.  Through this document I would like to inform you that UKCIP can act as a source of information for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry into climate change and water security.

  3.  The UK Climate Impacts Programme was established by government in 1997 and is fully funded by Defra. We help organisations assess how they might be affected by climate change, so they can prepare for its impacts. We co-ordinate and integrate stakeholder-led assessments of climate change impacts at a regional and national level, and provide tools (such as the UKCIP02 climate change scenarios and a risk, uncertainty and decision making framework) and guidance throughout the process for both stakeholders and the researchers. Within the UKCIP framework, regional scoping studies on climate change impacts have been undertaken for all parts of the UK, and regional climate change partnerships have been established. Sectoral studies focused on water supply and demand have also been undertaken. Further information on the UKCIP tools and studies is available from our website (www.ukcip.org.uk) and additional information is provided below.

TOOLS

  4.  A key source of information UKCIP can provide to the inquiry is a set of tools UKCIP have freely available to stakeholders and researchers. The most important of these, especially when considering future water security, is the UKCIP02 climate change scenarios. This data is freely available under licence agreement and includes observational and future monthly, seasonal and annual data at 5 x 5 km and 50 x 50 km grid size for 26 variables for the whole UK. Licence forms to access the data can be downloaded from our website.

  5.  Socio-economic scenarios have been developed for UKCIP to complement the UKCIP02 climate change scenarios. This scenario information is also freely available and will be especially important when undertaking studies into future water security.

  6.  A further tool that is being used for water resources research is our "Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty and Decision-Making" framework, which was developed with the Environment Agency and is designed to help decision-makers understand risk and uncertainty and to identify adaptation options. This framework was applied to a water security problem during training workshops that were held in late 2003 and is being used by the Environment Agency and others in climate adaptation and decision-making.

  7.  In summer 2004 UKCIP will launch a report detailing a methodology for costing the impacts of climate change. This methodology will assist users to identify and quantify the impacts of climate change and value these impacts for a range of scenarios using standard economic techniques. The methodology also shows how to compare impact costs against the costs of adaptation options, to work out how much adaptation is needed.

REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

  8.  UKCIP works with regional partnerships in the nine English regions and three Devolved Administrations. All of the regional partnerships have produced scoping studies that identify, at a minimum, how climate change will impact on the region. Many of the scoping studies have identified water security as an issue for the region and the are continuing to grapple with water management issues such as balancing water requirements for existing demands, new housing, and increased tourism.

  9.  The UKCIP regional partnerships also provide a forum for others to engage with. Most regions have an established partnership that includes a wide range of people who can be consulted on various issues.

SECTORAL STUDIES

  10.  Sectoral studies are also carried out under the UKCIP umbrella and three of these have specifically focused on water security. One of these studies was CC:DEW which looked changes in at future water demand due to behavioural responses to climate change (eg from irrigation, garden watering, industrial activity etc) by the 2020s and 2050s.

  11.  RegIS (Regional Climate Change Impact and Response Studies in East Anglia and North West England), is an integrated assessment study, the first phase of which was completed in 2002. The study focused on integrating socio-economic factors and climate change across the coastal and river flooding, agriculture, water and biodiversity sectors. In 2003 a second phase of the RegIS started, focusing on the same regions and sectors. This study is due for completion in September 2005. Outputs from this project should include a tool to help decision makers assess how climate change will impact on a sector and across various sectors.

  12.  A final sectoral study that could be relevant to this inquiry is the MONARCH project which focuses on climate change and nature conservation in Britain and Ireland. MONARCH (Phase 1) investigated the potential impacts of climate change in Britain and Ireland on a range of species and habitats. Phase 2 aimed to downscale this approach in order to provide a detailed understanding of impacts on ecosystem processes, which can then be applied to addressing nature conservation objectives within the context of climate change. Outputs from this project might be of interested to the Committee when addressing ways of minimising the impact of changes in water availability on biodiversity.

  13.  UKCIP would be very pleased to assist with the climate change impacts and adaptation aspects of your inquiry. I do hope these comments are helpful. We look forward to hearing from you, and to providing you with further details on the above in due course.

UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)

April 2004





 
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