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Climate Change

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. (165575)

The Climate Change Bill and the cross-Government Adaptation Policy Framework (due for publication in spring 2008) will set out the Government’s overall strategy on climate change. As yet, there are no specific targets in place for adaptation—these will be set following the publication of the Adaptation Policy Framework. The Department continues to work towards the achievement of the carbon reduction and neutrality targets for Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate.

DWP recognises that the most vulnerable in society may be disproportionately affected by climate change. As such, it is important to take steps to adapt to the short, medium and long-term risks and impacts. At the beginning of this year, the Department commissioned the Hadley Centre for Climate Change to undertake a high level assessment, building on an internal review carried out in 2003, of the risks that climate change poses to its policies and operations. This was launched at the Department’s Sustainable Development conference in March, which focused and engaged senior officials specifically on the theme of climate change adaptation. The review is expected to be completed by the end of 2007, and will form the basis for a future programme of adaptation work, based on the priorities identified.