Reporting back from Resilient Cites Congress

At the end of May I spent a couple of days at the ICLEI resilience cities congress finding out about the latest global urban adaptation work and sharing experiences from the work that we are involved with in Scotland.

There is no better place to be immersed in all things urban climate resilience related that at the resilient cities congress. It’s a three day round the clock networking and information sharing bonanza. Whilst there I presented on our work in Glasgow and the wider city region and gained many fascinating insights into work going on elsewhere.

Among many inspiring presentations, discussions and dinner time conversations: Continue reading

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

What next for the IPCC? How can we get action on climate change?

There is broad scientific consensus on climate change. What we need now is change – a transformation that responds to the scale of the challenge we actually face. Perhaps a ‘Campaign Climate’ that brings in the grassroots is a way forward?


This week the IPCC released its report ‘Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis’, the first in a series of reports that will make up the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). This brings the IPCC process up-to-date with advances in climate science since the release of the last report (AR4) in 2007. The evidence base continues to strengthen and it provides unequivocal evidence of our warming climate system (our news update covers a few key points)

So where to next? Well, this is just the start of the Fifth Assessment Report cycle – which culminates in the ‘Synthesis Report’ in October next year. So most immediately there’s still a long way to go in the AR5 cycle, including the next IPCC report on ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ which will be released at the end of March 2014. As the title suggests, this will be of particular relevance to those of us working in the adaptation community – it’s also an area that has seen considerable development since the last report in 2007. Continue reading

Adaptation views: Eric Dawson on Scotland’s Adaptation Conference


Eric Dawson from Architecture+Design Scotland has provided an interesting and insightful summary of his day at Scotland’s Adaptation Conference – we’re cross-posting it here!

Visit the A+DS feature here and download the pdf report

A+DS has been pleased to support and collaborate with Adaptation Scotland / Sniffer in relation to climate change initiatives that have included training events and the recent launch of the short film ‘Adapting to Change: Scotland’s Climate Stories’.

This article provides a summary of Scotland’s Adaptation Conference on ‘showcasing – engaging – inspiring’ which was held at Our Dynamic Earth on 9 September 2013. The event was organised by Adaptation Scotland and Sniffer, and sponsored by SEPA, SNH and The Scottish Government.

The event featured a series of presentation, and the keynote address was provided by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, who noted evidence that climate is changing and that key challenges lie ahead.

The Minister spoke of a need to become more resilient through forming new partnerships and collaborations. He described a need for a shared vision, and referred to examples of work being done by ‘Climate Ready Clyde’ and Tayplan.