Category Archives: Uncategorized

IPCC focus is on adaptation, can we transform?


This week the IPCC released “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability”, the second of three reports that will make up the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). It follows on from last year’s report that laid out the physical science of climate change – which made clear our prospects of facing global temperature increases of more than 2°C – and up to 5°C – over this century.

This new report investigates the consequences of climate change – looking at impacts and vulnerability across the world. However, there is a fundamental shift of emphasis, with a focus now on adaptation – especially given the serious, but uncertain, impacts that we are likely to face as our climate changes.

There is an interesting graphic in the new report, showing the ‘level of additional risk due to climate change’. It is striking that considerable additional risks occur at even the low end (~ 2°C) of expected warming – and these become increasingly widespread and severe if we end up at the higher end of temperature range. Continue reading

Lessons from above

This lunchtime I took a short detour from the rigours of adaptation planning and took myself off to a creative writing and poetry workshop at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.

It was amazing and, as often happens it brought me right back to thoughts of resilience building, future and legacy.

The workshop centred on a beautiful Britain From Above photography exhibition which shows amazing aerial photography of Glasgow and the Clyde Valley taken during the early 1900’s. The photo below doesn’t do it justice – if you are in Glasgow I’d highly recommend a visit.

Lighthouse Exhibition

Lighthouse Exhibition

The other people taking part in the workshop knew the areas shown in the photos very well and talked about their experiences of living and working in the places shown, many of which are barely recognisable today. Their reflections on the photos were powerful – they were looking for reference points – places that had stood the test of time and still existed in the present day. They reflected on memories of what it felt like to live and work in the areas shown. You can listen to some of the poems and reflections here Continue reading

Creating visuals for a Climate Ready Scotland

Adaptation Scotland has a project underway to produce a set of visuals that show what an adapting climate ready Scotland could look like. To do this we brought people together to share their ideas and create a joint vision. This discussion was captured live with drawing by Dan and Chris from Scriberia, who specialise in ‘live scribing’. This was an absolutely fantastic experience and made for a wide ranging and dynamic workshop.

Some great new images are now being worked up, and we will be sharing these with you in the spring – in the meantime here is a short film we have put together from the workshop.

Managing climate risks – where do I begin?


At an event in London on 15th October, speakers from BusinessGreen and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reinforced the message that while many businesses have thought about their future climate risks, only a small proportion has implemented any arrangements to manage them. This is hardly surprising given competing strategic priorities, limited time and money, and a lack of understanding of the need to do anything.

So what can organisations do for starters? Speaking at the event, Munish Datta (Head of Property for Plan A, Marks and Spencer) and John Mackenzie (UK Gas Transmission Asset Engineering Manager, National Grid) asserted the fundamental need for organisations to embed climate change adaptation on their corporate risk register, look at future climate threats and opportunities, put in place plans to manage their priority risks and integrate these with their business model or corporate strategies. Continue reading

TAYplan aims to better understand climate change – and the role of planning

Lorna Sim from the TAYplan Strategic Development Planning Authority highlights recent climate change adaptation workshops run with Adaptation Scotland.

In February and April 2013 Adaptation Scotland ran two half day training workshops in partnership with TAYplan to support planners in integrating adaptation at all points within the planning process.

TAYplan adaptation workshopThe aim of these workshops was to increase awareness of climate change adaptation considerations in policy development and implementation and to identify opportunities for improvements in current planning policy practice. The focus of the second workshop was on how planning policy could be improved to address adaptation at the strategic and local level, through the spatial strategy, proposals and individual policies. A report, which summarises the outputs from both workshops is available here.

For TAYplan, growth is a key strategic issue which is dealt with through the Plan, with an overall objective of creating better quality places. Collaborative partnership working is very important to TAYplan. Working with Adaptation Scotland through these workshops provided an opportunity to better understand what adaptation is and how the TAYplan landscape will look in 20 years’ time, how people will live their lives differently and the role of the planning system in this.

Local authorities join forces to plan for climate change…with a little help from Adaptation Scotland!

Thanks to Jim Fraser, Emergency Planning Officer at Scottish Borders Council, for his guest blog on Adaptation Scotland’s new local authority climate risk support group:

Like most other local authorities or organisations, we are all very busy and when it comes to the issue of climate change adaptation. It’s in people’s minds but it may have been put into the ‘too difficult to do box’ for the time being.

As someone who has to deal regularly with the outcome of extreme weather and climate change and can see the damage caused and the cost of the response, the time to address climate change risks is now Continue reading

Natural solutions to living in a changing climate

If you travel to Inverness or Aviemore by train or up the A9 by car you speed past the RSPB’s Insh Marshes nature reserve (you get a better view by train). The reserve is a huge wetland habitat in the floodplain or ‘strath’ of the River Spey. It’s a beautiful place – a mosaic of habitats and home to special wildlife. Wading birds, such as curlew, redshank and lapwing love the wet grassland for nesting and finding bugs to feed their chicks. When I visited a few years back the place seemed to be teeming with them.

Insh Marshes

Insh will be as important for wildlife in the future as it is now. As the climate changes, large, well managed and well connected habitats like those in Strathspey will be essential to help wildlife maintain healthy populations and cope with climate trends and shocks. Continue reading