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by Louise Wilson
21 November 2023
Climate resilience efforts ‘too slow’ warns expert body

Parts of Brechin were flooded after the River South Esk broke through defences last month | Alamy

Climate resilience efforts ‘too slow’ warns expert body

Progress on making Scotland more resilient to the effects of climate change is too slow, a new report has said.

The report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) urged the Scottish Government to embed adaptation in fresh legislation to drive forward delivery.

The CCC identified just one area where the government is making good progress on climate resilience, out of a total 33 outcomes.

Delivery and implementation of plans remain a major issue, while monitoring and evaluation of adaptation is limited (though improving).

CCC chief executive Chris Stark said progress was “too slow”.

He added: “While there have been some notable steps forward on policy, this isn’t being matched in the delivery and implementation of adaptation measures in Scotland.

“Scotland’s next national adaptation plan must embed resilience to climate change in new legislation and drive real improvements that prepare Scotland for the change in the climate.”

The report is the second on the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2. The Scottish Government is set to publish a third plan, the Scottish National Adaptation Plan 3 (SNAP3), next year.

The CCC says SNAP3 must include quantified targets, with a clear link between activity and outcomes, and clear ownership of delivery.

The report added: “For [SNAP3] to address the current shortfall in adaptation delivery it must seek to unlock public and private investment in adaptation, and be fully integrated with upcoming legislation and cross-government objectives on decarbonisation, health and nature.”

The only area showing good progress was on community preparedness, reflecting strong local-level action and better emergency response capabilities.

But the CCC says such plans are not yet reducing risks for communities.

The report comes shortly after swathes of Scotland experienced significant flooding last month, following prolonged rainfall.

Extreme weather events such as this are likely to continue as global temperatures rise, with heatwaves more likely in the summer while warmer, wetter winters increase flood risk.

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