On Saturday (12 December), the UK became one of the first countries in the world to fulfil a key commitment of the Paris Agreement, publishing our Adaptation Communication, setting out how we are enhancing our resilience to the changing climate.
Published as the Prime Minister brought leaders together at the virtual Climate Ambition Summit, the Adaptation Communication sets out what we are doing to prepare for the effects of climate change at home and to support those facing impacts overseas. Our approach covers the natural environment, infrastructure, people and the built environment, business and industry, and local government.
Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, said:
The impacts of climate change demand urgent action, and we are determined to be global leaders. We must adapt to these impacts at home and overseas. That is why the UK is fulfilling a key commitment of the Paris Agreement and asking others to do the same both at the Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of COP26 in Glasgow next year as we come together for our planet.
We can’t rest on our laurels, which is why, as well as implementing the bold actions set out today, we’re developing a long-term vision and framework to help us ensure resilience to climate risk up to 2050 and beyond.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and the UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation, said:
An increase in the impacts of the climate emergency, like heatwaves and floods, is already happening. The global race to net zero is essential to limit their rise, but if we don’t prepare for new extremes we’re on a hiding to nothing. We also need a race to resilience.
There are social and economic opportunities in helping communities improve resilience. We must invest in traditional infrastructure, like flood walls and early warning systems, but we are increasing our use of nature based solutions to manage water and reach net zero at the same time. We set out our approach in our pioneering Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which we are sharing with international partners ahead of COP26.
At home, we are putting nature at the heart of our approach, including committing £640 million through the Nature for Climate Fund to protect, restore, and expand habitats like woodlands and peat bogs. We are also building resilience to flooding and coastal change with a long-term flood plan and Environment Agency strategy.
Overseas, we’re doubling our International Climate Finance (ICF) contribution to £11.6 billion between 2021-2026. We are also supporting the international Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) which aims to make one billion people safer from disasters by 2025, and spearheading changes to adaptation and resilience financing, for example through the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.
Alongside this announcement, Minister Goldsmith wrote a piece in the Independent to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
The minister stressed the importance of nature in our fight against climate change, with the protection and restoration of forests, mangroves and peatlands having a huge role to play. He also outlined the need to tackle the drivers of land degradation, as we are already doing with new laws to prevent big businesses from using products which cause illegal habitat destruction overseas.