The concept of adaptation
Adaptation is about responding to the changes that we have seen in Scotland’s climate over the last few decades, and preparing for the challenges and opportunities that we will face as our climate continues to change in the decades ahead.
Adaptation goes hand in hand with work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, often referred to as climate change mitigation.
By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions we can reduce the amount of climate change that we will have to adapt to. So it is important that Scotland has world leading targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is part of international efforts to limit future climate change.
Sadly, whilst our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can limit future climate change, the greenhouse gases that we have already emitted into the atmosphere will cause further changes that cannot be avoided. These changes will have serious impacts for people in Scotland and internationally.
Adaptation focuses on enabling our economy, environment and society to increase resilience to these unavoidable impacts of climate change. It involves making changes to the way we design, manage and use land, buildings, services and infrastructure.
Our Climate Ready Places resource gives examples of how Scottish places can adapt to climate change .
Although we have very good information about the changes in climate that are projected for Scotland, we cannot be exactly sure how Scotland’s climate will change in the future. This means that adapting to climate change involves a considerable amount of uncertainty and there will be no single path for all communities or organisations to follow. Climate impacts will be experienced differently based on location, typography of the land and wider social, economic and environmental vulnerability.
Our adaptation tools and resources help organisations and communities to deal with this complexity and develop locally relevant adaptation plans and actions.