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Climate Change

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to help individuals to identify the steps they can take to act on climate change. (171740)

DEFRA and some other Government Departments run information programmes aimed at helping individuals to understand the link between their own actions and CO2 emissions and how they can take action to reduce their carbon footprint.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) intends to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 in relation to adaptation to the effects of climate change as they affect his Departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. (165578)

The Climate Change Bill, which it is hoped will receive Royal Assent by mid 2008, will provide a strong sustainable framework for adapting to the impacts of climate change. It will require Government to report at least every five years on current and predicted impacts of climate change, and on its proposals and policy for adapting to these.

DEFRA is also leading on the development of a cross-Government Adaptation Policy Framework to be published in the spring. The Framework aims to provide a consistent approach to building adaptation into policies, and a coherent way to identify cross-cutting risks and opportunities and to assist in prioritisation of action across Government.

In October 2008, the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP), will launch the DEFRA-funded UK 21st Century Climate Change Scenarios (UKCIP08) programme. This will provide accurate modelling and practical tools to help organisations (like local authorities and businesses) assess and address climate change impacts for the UK up to 2100 at a regional and local level. We will continue to develop the tools and actions to address climate change in the coming decades.

DEFRA is also considering the impacts of climate change for priority sectors. With the prediction of wetter winters and drier summers, water is on the front line of climate change adaptation. We will be launching a new Water Strategy, early in 2008, which will put adaptation at the heart of policy-making and ensure that water management is fit for the future. The increased flood risk from climate change is also one focus of the separate cross-Government long-term flood management strategy, ‘Making Space for Water’. The strategy is encouraging a holistic approach to the management of flood risk, together with increasing awareness and emergency preparedness within communities to help them better cope with flood events when they occur.

In addition, my Department continues to take a strong lead internationally on climate change. For example, we are working to provide a detailed assessment of potential impacts of climate change in India, and to identify and develop adaptation strategies. The project will look to improve climate change scenarios for India up to 2050 and will assess the impact of climate change nationally on water resources, agriculture and forestry.