Adaptation over Mitigation

Published on Monday, 27 September 2010 01:00
Written by Lord John Krebs

In an exclusive interview with Lord Krebs, Chairman of the CCC Adaptation Committee, Editor, Scott Buckler, finds out how Local Authorities can adopt to adaptation and the financial benefits it can bring.

What steps in relation to adaptation should the Government be adopting?

Our report concludes that the government has made good steps in raising awareness and providing information, but what we need now as a matter of urgency is to move away from information and guidance to action which will be delivered by businesses, local authorities and citizens. This will only happen if the barriers to action are removed and incentives are given.

What incentives do you mean?

The incentives might take the form of regulation or statuary guidance, for instance, in the relation to buildings. It is important that new buildings whether commercial or domestic such be constructed with climate change in mind. It is a matter of future proofing buildings for flood risk or against extreme heat in the summer. Another example would be to provide fiscal incentives for preparation against flooding or extreme high winds.

What progress is being made on Adaptation?

The main progress being made is providing projections of climate change in the United Kingdom from the Met Office and a number of guidance tools for businesses to introduce what adaptation will mean to them. What we have not seen , apart from sectors such as water and flood management, is translation of this into action.

What support, if any, should be made available for organisations to introduce technology to tackle climate change?

I think there are real businesses opportunities for adaptation technology. Businesses that get ahead of the game quickly will be able to sell their products and services not only in the UK but internationally. Whether the government should be funding this is something we have not commented on, I personally believe there are many commercial factors which will provide businesses with great opportunities, so no real need for funding.

In the report you discuss yields of crops and extending seasons through climate change, what benefits to the UK will this provide?

The positive impacts will come in terms of the extended growing seasons which will see crops such as sunflowers and grapes benefitting from warmer temperatures. I believe the agriculture sector has already noticed the patterns of rainfall and that seasons are changing, perhaps through NFU or Defra, guidance could be provided to farmers on where opportunities could lay. One area which could be difficult is water management, already in the south east of England water is becoming scarce. The management of water will become a key issue going forward.

What are the next steps after this report?

The next steps are to comment on a piece of work Defra has commissioned called, the climate change risk assessment, which will give more accurate information on the potential risks of climate change in the UK. We also want to look at more detail on how organisations are viewing climate change and create metrics to measure progress in adaptation, unlike mitigation where we have clear metrics, we don’t yet have clear metrics for adaptation. This will show us how prepared the UK is and what needs to be done, this will be our work for the next 12-18 months.

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