Memorandum submitted by the UK Climate
Impacts Programme (UKCIP) (U7)
1. The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)
would like to inform the Committee of our interest in the "Climate
Change: Looking Forward" inquiry. UKCIP is concerned that
the issue of adapting to the impacts of climate change should
not be overshadowed by the more obvious agenda of mitigating the
causes of climate change.
THE UK CLIMATE
2. Through this document UKCIP would like
to offer itself as a source of information for the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry "Climate Change:
Looking Forward", as we did for an earlier 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 of understanding
the impacts and developing adaptation strategies to manage those
impacts. 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.
A number of sectoral studies have been undertaken, and we have
started to develop adaptation networks with local authorities
and with business. Further information on the UKCIP tools and
studies is available from our website (www.ukcip.org.uk).
4. The changes in the climate that happen
in the next 30 to 40 years have already been determined by greenhouse
gases emitted before today, and many actors in society must plan
to adapt to those changes, while we also need to reduce our emissions
to limit the changes that will occur in the second half of this
century and beyond. Mitigation and adaptation are not alternative
courses of action; they address different aspects of the climate
change issue and both are necessary. While much attention has
been focused on reducing the emissions of the greenhouse gases
that cause climate change, adapting to the changes caused is another
necessary response. UKCIP is keen that the need to adapt is not
overshadowed by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore,
UKCIP sees opportunities for these two responses to climate change
to reinforce each other.
UK CLIMATE CHANGE
5. The tenth (and last) of the recently
announced terms of reference of the review of the UK Climate Change
Programme is "to assess the UK's response at national, regional
and local level to adapting to the impacts of climate change".
Adaptation is harder to quantify than mitigation so that assessing
progress towards an acceptable level of adaptation at a national
scale is still difficult. UKCIP is interested in being involved
in the debate about how this might be addressed.
6. UKCIP would be very pleased to assist
with the climate change impacts and adaptation aspects of your
inquiry, and hopes these comments are helpful. We look forward
to hearing from you, and to providing you with further details
on the above in due course.
29 September 2004