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Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty, and Decision-Making

TitleClimate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty, and Decision-Making
Publication TypeManual Entry
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWillows, Robert, and Richenda Connell

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges we face over the coming century. We must try to avoid the worst effects, by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The Environment Agency as the leading body responsible for protecting the environment in England and Wales, has a key role to play as a regulator and in partnership with others. Yet however successful we are at reducing emissions, some climate change is already inevitable, so we will need to adapt. Climate change poses a risk to many of our policies, strategies and plans. We must learn to manage this risk, and provide appropriate climate change 'headroom' when we make decisions. The Environment Agency already takes account of climate change when planning improvements to flood protection, and as part of our water resources strategy. Our fisheries and biodiversity policies are kept under review and we are ready to respond to any future changes in industrial regulation in relation to emissions and energy efficiency. The management of climate risk is a developing area, and one that will not go away. I encourage other decision-makers to read this report, and apply the framework for risk-based decision-making that it provides. By doing this, we can all ensure that our policies and projects will be robust enough to cope with the uncertain future climate.

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