UK Government publishes UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment

The Government has today (Monday 17 January) published the UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), recognising the unprecedented challenge of ensuring the UK is resilient to climate change and setting out the work already underway to meet that challenge.

The five-year assessment, delivered under the Climate Change Act 2008 and following close work with the Climate Change Committee (CCC), identifies the risks that climate change poses to multiple parts of our society and economy.

For eight individual risks, economic damages could exceed £1 billion per year each by 2050 with a temperature rise of 2°C, with the cost of climate change to the UK rising to at least 1% of GDP by 2045.

Work that has been undertaken by the UK government and the devolved administrations to adapt to climate include:

  • Investing a record £5.2 billion to build 2,000 new flood defences by 2027
  • Continuing work on the Green Finance Strategy to align private sector financial flows with clean, environmentally sustainable and resilient growth
  • Increasing the total spend from the Nature for Climate Fund on peat restoration, woodland creation and management to more than £750m by 2025.
  • Ensuring that climate science and research, such as the UK Climate Projections 2018, are fully integrated into planning and decision making, including on major infrastructure.

The CCRA also includes recognition of the further progress that the UK government will seek to deliver through National Adaptation Programme (NAP3), to be laid in Parliament in 2023.

The report comes three months after the UK hosted the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, bringing together nearly 200 countries to limit temperature rise and keep 1.5 alive.

Climate Adaptation Minister Jo Churchill said:

The scale and severity of the challenge posed by climate change means we cannot tackle it overnight, and although we’ve made good progress in recent years there is clearly much more that we need to do.

By recognising the further progress that needs to be made, we’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts and setting a path towards the third National Adaptation Programme which will set ambitious and robust policies to make sure we are resilient to climate change into the future.

Greg Hands Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change said:

This report makes clear the risks of failing to act on climate change, and the UK’s world leading approach to net zero must include action on adaptation to ensure we are resilient to climate change in the future.

This includes building on our strong progress to deliver a reliable, home grown renewable energy sector, provide highly skilled jobs, and secure investment as we build a cleaner future.

Minister for the School System Baroness Barran said:

Building a more sustainable future is vital and education has a role to play. We want our nurseries, schools, colleges and universities to be cleaner and greener.

As part of our Schools Rebuilding Programme, all new buildings have to be net-zero in operation and we’re taking action to understand the risks and adapt our school estate to cope with climate change, water scarcity, along with heat and flood risks.

We’re also providing educational opportunities for young people to learn about the impacts of climate change, including how to adapt and tackle the issues we face.

Housing Minister Eddie Hughes, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said;

Reducing carbon emissions from homes is an essential part of our climate change response and we are making great progress. From June this year new homes will be expected to produce around 30% less CO2 emissions rising to 75% from 2025. We have also updated planning rules to place a stronger emphasis on delivering sustainable development and a more proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Following the completion of the CCRA, and to support the development of NAP3, the UK government will now conduct further internal work to develop new and existing policies to tackle the risks, and engage with external stakeholders to further develop objectives ahead of the publication of NAP3.

A strong research programme is being created to support this including further development of our understanding of climate science, improved access to the science to help decision-makers understand risk better, more localised climate risk assessments, and improved measurement of adaptation enabling us to monitor progress better.

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