The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in the 5th Assessment Report that “warming of the global climate is unequivocal”. We are used to coping with day-to-day changes in our weather, but not to our overall climate. One of the greatest challenges facing nature and biodiversity in the 21st Century will be it’s ability to respond to changes in global climate.
Climate change is progressing faster than many people believe. These changes will bring profound changes to wildlife. There will be some benefits from climate change, including the welcome arrival of species from continental Europe such as little egrets, purple herons, hoopoes and spoonbills. Most of the impacts however are expected to be adverse, and exacerbated by the fast rate and large scale of climate change, which allows little time for natural adaptation; by the poor conservation status of many species and habitats; and by our highly modified landscapes.
A summary of projected climate change impacts for the Greater Thames Marshes NIA (taken from the UK Climate Projections 2009 – see link below) is available for download.
Climate Change Adaptation Assessment Framework
In January 2014 NIA partners (including representatives from Essex County Council, Kent County Council, Essex Wildlife Trust, Thames Estuary Partnership, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Zoological Society London, Natural England and Environment Agency) took place in a workshop developed by RSPB’s Futurescape Programme to learn about climate impacts in the Greater Thames; consider appropriate adaptation actions; work through a step-by-step process to gather and collect information; and, develop our thinking in relation to future projects across the Greater Thames.
A detailed adaptation action plan has been developed as a working document and is available on request.
The following information resources were referenced in the development of the climate adaptation action plan:
- The Adaptation Sub-Committee’s report ‘Managing the land in a changing climate’ – http://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ASC-2013-Book-singles_2.pdf – a useful report published by the body responsible for overseeing Government delivery on climate change adaptation
- Climate Change Adaptation Manual – http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5629923804839936 – a resource to help conservation managers and advisors to make informed decisions about adaptation
- LWEC’s Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Report Card – http://www.lwec.org.uk/resources/report-cards/biodiversity – this summarises how terrestrial biodiversity is doing in relation to climate change
- Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Report Card – http://www.mccip.org.uk/media/18758/mccip-arc2013.pdf – summarising how climate change is impacting the marine environment
- Assessing the potential consequences of climate change for England’s landscapes: North Kent (NERR052) – NERR052 – Assessing the potential consequences of climate change for England’s landscapes: North Kent
- The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-climate-change-risk-assessment-government-report – published by Defra in 2012 this document assesses risks of climate change by sector – cross-sectoral analysis is something earmarked for the next iteration of this document (they are due every 5yrs)
- UK National Adaptation Programme – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/209866/pb13942-nap-20130701.pdf – published in 2013, this outlines the actions “government, businesses and society” are doing to become more climate ready in response to the CCRA (see above)
- UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) – http://ukclimateprojections.metoffice.gov.uk/ – probabilistic projects for how the UK’s climate will change, the Briefing Report gives an overview of summary results and data available