Fundamental changes are necessary to respond to the climate emergency. This requires understanding the root causes of climate risks and seeking to address these. Developing a shared risk and opportunity assessment is an important opportunity to deepen collaborative working among regional partners and continue working towards an ambitious and transformative approach to climate change adaptation across the region.
The risk and opportunity assessment will support regional and local decision making and will enable partners to identify priorities for further action at the community level. Further work will be required to agree specific adaptation actions that are needed to address the risks and opportunities that are identified. The assessment will also identify areas for undertaking additional analysis on sectors or regions of concern or interest.
Phase 1 of the Highland Climate Risk and Opportunity Assessment aims to:
- Identify and prioritise the risks and opportunities from climate change to Highland’s society, economy, and environment between now and 2080
- Lay the foundation for a transformational approach to climate adaptation and resilience for the region
- Support a just transition to a net zero and climate resilient economy, in a way that delivers fairness and tackles inequality and injustice.
The methodology includes four stages; gather – identify – assess – publish.
The gathering stage will include,
- collation of formal data and evidence sources,
- a call for evidence from all regional climate risk data and evidence (including that from Board members),
- engaging the wider community (including the business sector and land managers) to gather lived experience data, through existing projects/initiatives, as well as mapping tools and workshops to reach communities that aren’t already engaged.
The identify stage will involve using formal data & evidence sources and evidence & stories from lived experience to document and describe climate risks and opportunities for the region.
The assess stage will involve assessing the risks and opportunities that have been identified. The assessment will follow a downscaled version of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment method. This stage will also include commissioning an economic climate risk assessment to understand the current and future economic costs of climate change, including opportunities for green financing, the circular economy and identifying skill gaps.
Following the completion of the assessment the focus will turn to publishing the results. Communication, engagement, and co-development is integral to all assessment stages and will be a key focus throughout the process to help maximise the impact of the final assessment output.
Key outputs will include an online open source of regional climate risk data, a climate risk economic assessment, and a climate risk and opportunity assessment for the region that will detail key priorities for further work in phase 2 and highlight opportunities for action/investment.