“Our climate is our future. Our future is in our hands” is quite a powerful statement made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – quoted in their recent Sixth Assessment report. Tackling climate change is undoubtedly an urgent matter and this was first raised publicly through the assessment reports, published by a team of international scientists making up the body of the IPCC. These reports provide national and local governments with the most up to date scientific knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response options for adaptation and mitigation. Such information can be used for climate policies and also used as key points throughout climate change negotiations.
Though, the most important message to take from the expressive quote above is that the current course of action by humanity is at risk of intensifying the climate crisis. The release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) occurs more rapidly than what we previously thought so it is therefore in our hands, as the society of today, to make significant changes needed to limit the extensive spread of CO₂. This will benefit our future generations massively and preserve the planet which is why the need for climate adaptation is very important.
Historic emissions have already affected our climate and will only continue to do so. This is why we need to take early action and start adapting to climate change now which will help the Highlands to become a climate ready region. Adaptation is a continuous process which has both global and local variations – though still a very much valuable development either way.
Adaptation and climate justice will therefore be the inspiration behind this new blog series, which is why the upcoming content has been formed on the basis of several themes that have been drawn from the main findings of the latest IPCC report. These findings ultimately highlight the need for more climate adaptation to help build resilience and minimize risks for the future. The Scottish climate has already changed, and it is more than likely these changes will only intensify with hotter temperatures, heavy rainfall and continually rising sea levels!
The first few posts will be in relation to Biodiversity – covering important areas of habitats, ecosystems and landscapes which are all vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Specifically, here in the Highlands we experience such impacts upon our coasts, forests, agriculture, and soils. For example, an impact may be increased flood risk which will be the main discussion point in a later blog post about how climate change can influence our access and availability to good quality water. This will then follow on to a post about food where climate impacts can affect supply, and this will be the last subcategory discussed under our first theme of Biodiversity.
The focus of this blog series will then move on to discuss how climate change affects human settlements. Firstly, looking at this from a cultural and business perspective – considering how flooding in particular affects cultural heritage and identity. As well as the resilience and performance of businesses, both worldwide and locally. Then we will move on to write about more direct impacts on people in terms of their health and wellbeing – this being a very important topic in the present day! Then finally, the last of this blog series will come to write about infrastructure and how climate change can disrupt network connectivity and interdependencies. All these key points will be discussed in relation to how we need to adapt both globally and locally towards climate change impacts.
Written by Chloe Sinclair, Climate Change Communications Intern