Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum 44

Submission from the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership

STATEMENT ON MCCIP FOR "INVESTIGATING THE OCEANS"

  The following statement provides an introduction to the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) and outlines how the partnership is being used to advance knowledge of the impacts of climate change on the oceans.

WHAT IS MCCIP?

  MCCIP is a partnership between scientists and sponsors from government, its agencies and NGOs. Our principal aim is to provide a co-ordinating framework for the UK, so as to be able to transfer high quality evidence on marine climate change impacts, and related advice, to policy advisors and decision-makers.

  The initial objectives of MCCIP are to:

    —    Develop and maintain a co-ordinating framework for marine partners in the UK.

    —    Build the knowledge base and consolidate evidence of marine climate change impacts.

    —    Create effective mechanisms for the efficient transfer of marine climate change knowledge from the scientific community to policy advisers and decision makers.

    —    Facilitate the uptake of tools and strategies to assist stakeholders in developing and assessing adaptation strategies.

WHY WAS IT FORMED?

  The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) was announced and launched in March 2005 as one of the actions from the UK government and devolved administration report Charting Progress: An Integrated Assessment of the State of the UK Seas, which identified climate change and unsustainable fishing as the two main threats facing the UK's marine environment.

HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?

  The institutional structures for MCCIP include a fluid Steering Group of key stakeholders (chaired by the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and an Expert Advisory Panel that provides scientific quality assurance across the programme.

  The Steering Group is the funding provider and manages the direction of MCCIP, overseeing primary partnership outputs. The current Steering Group comprises the following organisations; Countryside Council for Wales, Defra; Department of Environment—Northern Ireland; Department for Trade and Industry; Environment Agency; Marine Environmental Change Network, Natural England; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; SAHFOS, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency; Scottish Executive; Scottish Natural Heritage, States of Guernsey; States of Jersey; UK Climate Impacts Partnership (UKCIP), Welsh Assembly Government and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Defra is the biggest funding partner, with many of the other partners also providing income or help in-kind. However, it is important to note that group membership is not solely limited to funders and we anticipate future growth.

  The MCCIP secretariat services and reports to the Steering Group, acting as the UK focus for marine climate change impacts information. The secretariat co-ordinates and leads on the delivery of MCCIP products.

  An independent Expert Advisory Panel (EAP), comprised of international leaders in Marine and Climate Science, both guide and peer review scientific products from MCCIP.

PROGRESS MADE AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

  During the start-up phase of MCCIP, the partnership has concentrated on building the scientific evidence base, principally through the provision of the marine climate change impacts annual report card.

  The first annual report card (ARC), delivered ahead of schedule in November 2006, provides an at-a-glance summary of current scientific understanding of UK marine climate change impacts (www.mccip.org.uk/arc). The ARC is based on reviews submitted by leading UK climate and marine scientists on a broad array of subjects, encompassing all aspects of the marine environment. The ARC addresses what we know is already happening, what could happen in the future and rates the scientists' confidence in our current level of understanding. It strongly suggests that climate change has important consequences for the health and biological diversity, cleanliness and safety and the commercial productivity of our seas.

  The partnership is now exploring the development of new products that are distinguishable from the annual report card and we are looking to significantly develop the MCCIP website, with a view to its future development as a "one-stop shop" site for UK marine climate change impacts evidence. In the first instance, this will focus on providing more up to date information on UK marine climate change impacts and supporting better links to relevant organisations and data sources.

  MCCIP is currently providing guidance to the UK Climate Impacts Programme for the production of its next climate information package, UKCIP08. The inclusion of a marine climate change scenarios report for the first time in the next UKCIP climate information package (due October 2008) should significantly enhance our understanding of future change in marine and coastal environments, at both national and regional scales. The MCCIP will have a key role to play in disseminating the outputs of these scenarios and is in consultation with the Met Office Hadley Centre to determine how best to use anticipated outputs to meet policy and stakeholder requirements. In particular we are providing advice on the type and frequency of data to be stored and the regional areas that should be included in these outputs.

  Having successfully engaged the scientific community into the MCCIP process, with leading UK marine climate change researchers providing broad-based impacts evidence for MCCIP outputs, significant challenges lie ahead in ensuring that these messages are incorporated into planning and climate adaptation strategies. The ability to build effective mechanisms for knowledge transfer is critical to the success of this initiative. Indeed, the reasoning behind and institutional design of MCCIP is dictated by the need for effective mechanisms for knowledge transfer from the scientific community to end-users.

  The MCCIP will use conferences, workshops and meetings to promote our activities and as the partnership develops MCCIP will hold its own stakeholder workshops. The MCCIP will continue to develop its website and will deliver regular updates on marine climate change issues through the MCCIP newsletter.

  As the partnership continues to mature, it is planned that it will help to; identify gaps in knowledge and recommend priority areas for future research; assemble community views and partner requirements for climate change tools and information (eg marine scenarios of climate change) and advise on the development of an integrated marine climate impacts monitoring programme.

  MCCIP is currently at an early stage. It will continue to develop over the forthcoming years and it is anticipated that its products will increasingly demonstrate the value of a co-ordinated approach to addressing marine climate change. This requirement for MCCIP to successfully evolve is critical given the prominent role that our seas play in both shaping and regulating our climate. What seems clear from the first MCCIP annual report card is that the marine environment is being affected by climate change and society needs to be able to adapt to the wide-ranging impacts such changes are likely to have.

  The progress that MCCIP has made during its first two years has been impressive and provides a clear and effective way to address the needs of policy makers and advisors. The focus now is on expanding the scope and flexibility to enable MCCIP to get to grips with the ever-growing range and complexity of climate change information and process it effectively and in an appropriate (short) timescale.

CURRENT LIFETIME AND FUNDING

  The current MCCIP programme runs from December 2005 until 2010 (with a formal review scheduled for year 3). In order to assure financial security over this five-year period, a detailed partnership agreement has been negotiated and put in place between the MCCIP funding bodies. Approximately 75% funding for MCCIP's core products through to 2010 is already in place. These monies are supplied via the main MCCIP budget provided by the Steering Group's funding bodies and agreed with individual funding partners accordingly. Forecast costs for MCCIP are approximately £100,000 per annum.

July 2007





 
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