Preparing for climate change

The UK’s climate is changing. Even with very ambitious actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, some further climate change is inevitable up to at least 2050. Adaptation is needed alongside mitigation to reduce the risks from climate change.

The average annual temperature in England is around 1°C warmer than the pre-industrial period, and the chances of experiencing hot summers like in 2018 have doubled in recent decades. Sea level has risen by 16cm since 1900, and will continue to rise for centuries due to time lags in the climate system.

Depending on how successful the world is at reducing emissions, global temperatures by 2100 are likely to rise by between 1.5°C and over 4°C above pre-industrial levels.  Adaptation planning needs to take this range of possibilities into account, noting that at higher levels of warming it may not be possible to adapt to all risks in the UK.

The Adaptation Committee of the Committee on Climate Change provides advice to the Government on climate change risks and opportunities for the UK through the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, and reports to Parliament on progress on adaptation in England every two years.