UKRLD4 Learning to Adapt Front Cover Image

The 4th edition of the UK Resilience Lessons Digest, ‘Learning to Adapt’ has been released today.

After a run of extreme weather events in the UK, this latest Digest edition has been prepared in response to impacts associated with the climate emergency. It also follows publication of the UK Government’s Third National Adaptation Programme (NAP3) in July 2023, and the latest Conference of the Parties (COP28), held in Dubai last December.

Climate mitigation alone is not enough

Research is clear that work to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as cutting carbon emissions and reaching net-zero, is critical. But it is also clear that we cannot build a climate resilient future through mitigation efforts alone. Urgent climate adaptation action, that works to limit the impacts of our changing climate, is required. 

The challenge, as many have already articulated, is that climate adaptation has not always been an equal partner in efforts to address the climate emergency. Typically attracting far less airtime and attention than mitigation efforts, increased attention on adaption action in policy and practice is crucial if we are to live well in a climate changed world. But what learning has been identified so far in efforts to adapt to the impacts such as warmer, wetter winters and drier, hotter summers? 

Adapting to reduce risk

Whilst the risks associated with impacts like extreme weather are influenced by a range of factors, the rationale for the review of learning on climate adaptation centres on two things:

  1. The time-sensitivity of those lessons, on the basis that an increasing number of adaptation opportunities will be lost as global temperatures continue to rise.
  2. The significant benefits that adaptation action offers, especially when combined with mitigation efforts, for whole-society resilience. These include the role adaptation plays in driving and sustaining economic growth, increasing the resilience of the natural environment, infrastructure, businesses, and households, and promoting wider social health and wellbeing outcomes. 

Upon release of Digest 4, Lianna Roast, Head of Thought Leadership said: 
"The review of lessons identified in relation to climate adaptation efforts is time-sensitive and significant. It is anchored into a shared and expanding understanding of associated climate risks, made especially salient by recent experiences of extreme weather events in the UK. 

"The learning analysis synthesised 278 findings and recommendations across 12 reports on limiting the impacts of a changing climate in policy and practice. This revealed a range of transferable lessons spanning five prominent learning themes, with plenty of practical take-aways. Although challenges and barriers were clearly highlighted, it was encouraging to find a range of positive enablers and practices to support climate adaptation within the reports reviewed."

With more than 70% of UK Local Authorities having already declared a climate emergency, the learning really does represent that all-important, applied value for the resilience community at national and local levels. 

‘Learning to Adapt’ also presents a range of articles on climate adaptation, including a rich case study of applied research from Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, climate science insights and information from the Met Office, practical tools for adaptation action from Local Partnerships, and academic insights on the management of extreme weather impacts at events, from the EPC. The overarching takeaway was that both problems and solutions associated with climate change are in our hands.

Download your free copy and learn more about Digest 4, 'Learning to Adapt'

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