Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan
Part 4: Glossary
Adaptation Climate change adaptation comprises all the actions and solutions that a country, a region, a city, or a community can develop and implement to build more resilient societies and economies, to respond to the impacts of climate change that are already happening or are expected. It is a series of changes in processes, practices and structures that aim to moderate the potential damages brought by climate change. The solutions for climate adaptation vary from one context to another, they can range from building flood defences, setting up early warning systems for cyclones to redesigning communication systems, business operations and government policies. The impacts of climate change are felt globally, and without drastic action now, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly. To be successful, climate adaptation strategies must be developed together with national, regional and international organizations, but also with the private sectors, civil society and the population. Climate change Climate change is the global phenomenon of the long-term shift in global and regional climate patterns (as opposed to weather patterns, which can change from day to day). The earth’s average temperature is about 15°C. Scientists say that temperatures are rising faster than previous natural fluctuations due to the greenhouse gas effect. There is a scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activities, especially by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere of the earth. This contributes to increased temperature (also known as global warming), but also leads to sea-level rise, ocean warming and acidification, loss of ice mass in mountain glaciers worldwide, extreme weather events (including extended periods of drought, severe storms, and wildfire), and biodiversity loss. In Glasgow City Region, climate change will cause more frequent and intense flooding, heatwaves and coastal erosion. Sea levels in the mouth of the River Clyde are forecast to rise by nearly half a metre by the 2080s while winter rainfall could increase by 50% by the 2080s. The increase in total rainfall and heavy downpours are already causing more frequent flooding episodes which disrupt the infrastructure and day-to- day services that the population relies on. Vital roads, bridges, rail lines and public buildings in the Glasgow area are at significant risk as extreme weather events like storms, flooding and heatwaves are becoming more frequent. The Royal Alexandra teaching hospital in Paisley for example is at high risk of surface water flooding. This will not only cause economic damage but will also deepen social inequality as climate change has a compounding effect on the health, financial stability and well-being of the most vulnerable population, who are less able to cope with such risks. Climate Ready Being climate ready means finding out about the likely effects climate change will have on your property, lifestyle, community and general circumstances, and making a plan to manage the risks. Climate resilience As we work to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases and avert the worst potential impacts of climate change, we must become more resilient, as some of these impacts are unavoidable. Climate resilience is the outcome of the ability to properly anticipate, to prepare for and to respond to hazardous climate events, as well as climate threats and vulnerabilities. Improving climate resilience involves understanding how climate change will create new climate-related risks and taking steps to better cope with these risks.
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