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Climate Change

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of its capacity to adapt to climate change; and what plans he has to publish a climate change adaptation strategy. (241171)

In July 2008, the cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme published Adapting to Climate Change in England—a framework for action which set out the Government’s strategy for adaptation and the work-plan for the cross-Government Programme for the next three years. This programme increases Government’s capacity to adapt by ensuring a coordinated approach across all Departments and the public sector, and overall responsibility for it rests with DEFRA. Information about the programme can be found at

This includes taking forward work flowing from the Climate Change Act 2008—including a national Climate Change Risk Assessment and cost benefit analysis which will inform future priorities for the statutory adaptation programme beginning in 2012.

The Government’s longer term strategy on adapting to a changing climate will be set out in this statutory National Adaptation Programme, which will be reviewed and updated on a five year rolling basis in response to updated risk assessments, and reported to Parliament.

DWP recognises that the most vulnerable in society may be disproportionately affected by climate change. As such, we consider it important to take steps to adapt to the short, medium and long-term risks and impacts.

In 2003, DWP undertook some initial exploratory work, updated it late last year, and commissioned the Meteorological Office to undertake a review of the impacts of climate change on the Department’s policies and operations. The Meteorological Office report was received earlier this year and its findings are now being taken into consideration in formulating the future programme of climate change adaptation work, based on the priorities identified. The Department’s Planning Performance and Risk Committee is leading on this work and has endorsed the initial findings of the review. An update to the review will be commissioned once the revised UK Climate Projections are published in the new year.

The Department continues to build climate change into its contingency planning work, and works closely with colleagues from other Government Departments to develop a joint coordinated approach to adapting to climate change. We also sit on the pan-government Domestic Adaptation Programme Board.