Adapting to the physical risks and opportunities posed by a changing climate is a key pillar of the UK Climate Change Act (2008). The Act imposes a legal obligation on the Government for a five-yearly assessment of the risks and opportunities facing the UK from current and future climate change, which the Climate Change Committee (CCC) provides advice on as part of its legal remit. Two national Climate Change Risk Assessments (CCRAs) have taken place to date. For the second (and forthcoming third assessment due in 2021) the Government has tasked the CCC with compiling the detailed independent report on the evidence of climate risks and opportunities, which forms its advice.
The CCRA is currently conducted largely based on an extensive review of existing literature. The assessment identifies a range of risks and opportunities that the UK faces and considers their magnitude and the extent to which they are being addressed by current policies and plans out to 2100. This process identifies where more action or further investigation is needed, or whether continuation of current action or monitoring is sufficient.
This briefing note discusses the value of including adapting to climate change within national climate legislation, the process of conducting a climate change risk assessment in the UK, and insights from the experience of conducting two CCRAs to date.
This briefing is structured in three sections:
- The need for risk assessment in national climate laws
- Conducting a climate change risks assessment
- The challenges of conducting an effective risk assessment