Getting climate ready

Defra has published its first national adaptation plan. Lucie Ponting looks at its contents and gauges reaction

Getting climate ready

Businesses, local authorities and communities that address the risks from climate change early can avoid the worst outcomes, remain competitive and even reap the benefits from the opportunities it will present. This is the central message and call to action in the government’s much anticipated first national adaptation programme (NAP).

In setting out the case for adaptation, the 184 page document quotes statistics showing that 64% of UK businesses have suffered supply chain disruption due to extreme weather and 70% of major businesses and their suppliers see significant risk from climate change. But, despite acknowledging the degree of risk, only 40% of large businesses are acting to ensure they are ready to deal with the impact of climate change.

All the evidence suggests that extreme weather events – such as the flooding in late 2012 across large parts of the UK or the severe drought earlier that year – are likely to become more frequent and more acute, potentially disrupting the economy.

The cost to the UK of floods in 2007, for example, was estimated at £3.2 billion. Damage to communications, transport and roads totalled £230 million, while the overall bill for affected businesses was estimated at £740 million – on average this was ...

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