Scotland’s climate is changing but action to adapt to critical impacts such as wetter winters and rising sea levels has stalled, posing risks to people, infrastructure and business, according to a new, independent assessment by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).
According to the CCC, further climate change in Scotland is now inevitable, no matter how rapidly global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, Baroness Brown, commented: “We commend the Scottish Government on its vision for a climate ready Scotland, but the reality is that action is not happening at the scale or pace required.
“In most sectors including the natural and built environments, health, infrastructure and business, action has stalled. Without a renewed sense of urgency, the significant changes we are already seeing in Scotland today will have impacts on all areas of Scottish society and nature in the years to come.
“Scotland needs to up its game by kickstarting delivery; introducing clear, measurable targets; improving monitoring and evaluation of climate risks and ensuring greater accountability for Government – it has some examples of good practice to build on.”
The Scottish Government has set out a vision to adapt the nation and build its climate resilience in the second Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP2), but ‘much more’ needs to be done to translate this ambition into real-world adaptation action.
The CCC recommends that the Scottish Government:
- Drives action based on its vision for a well-adapted Scotland. Clear, time-bound and quantitative targets, with clear Government ownership, need to be set out to make Scotland’s adaptation vision drive sufficient action. This is essential for accountability. Adaptation needs to be embedded across the full range of Government activities.
- Urgently improves monitoring and evaluation. Scotland lacks effective monitoring and evaluation systems meaning that changes in aspects of many climate-related risks are largely unknown. For adaptation plans to be effective these systems need to be created and implemented without delay.
- Raises the level of adaptation response. Across Scotland there are numerous local-level initiatives that can form a blueprint for a stronger, adaptation response. There are also opportunities to extend Scotland’s leading position in considering how climate adaptation policy can be delivered fairly across society.
‘Is Scotland climate ready? – 2022 Report to Scottish Parliament’ is available on the CCC website.