Indicators of climate change risk and adaptation action
The Adaptation Committee (AC) of the Committee on Climate Change is responsible for assessing England’s progress in preparing for climate change. This includes a biennial evaluation of the government’s National Adaptation Programme: the UK’s plan for outlining what measures need actioning to reduce the risk from climate impacts, for example, heatwaves, flooding and sea level rise.
To provide its biennial report, “Progress in preparing for climate change: Progress report to Parliament”, the AC uses a set of more than 200 metrics and indicators to assess and track changes in climate change risks and adaptation, whereby observed changes are monitored over time using key data and information across three core components: risk, adaptation action and climate impact.
The AC commissioned RSK company ADAS to update a subset of this indicator base to inform the 2017 and 2019 reports to Parliament. In total, 70 and 35 indicators of climate-related risk and actions were assessed in 2016–2017 and 2018–2019 respectively.
The indicators spanned multiple sectors, including the built environment, infrastructure, the natural environment, agriculture and forestry, people and health, and business. Data and information to inform the indicators were obtained from publicly available datasets, online web-based searches and consultation with stakeholders and industry representatives. For each indicator, detail was provided on the data sources and methods used; the trends and implications for climate resilience were outlined and visually presented; and the robustness of the indicator as a measure of determining climate-related risks and actions was assessed.
The project scope was for England only. However, for some indicators and evidence bases, disaggregated data were unavailable. In these instances, the data represented a wider regional level, for example, England and Wales, or the UK.
The subset of indicators ADAS assessed in these two projects provided supporting evidence to the AC’s report to Parliament to inform current understanding of the adaptation progress being made in England.