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Climate Change

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what steps his Department has taken to adapt to climate change in the last two years; (277645)

(2) what steps his Department has taken to adapt to climate change in 2009 to date.

All Departments are actively involved in the cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme, which aims to help society adapt to climate change. The role of the programme is to develop and provide a comprehensive evidence base including adaptation tools, to raise awareness of the need to adapt, to measure success and to work across Government at all levels to embed adaptation. Further details about the programme’s work can be found at

www.defra.gov.uk/adaptation.

As well as working together to tackle issues that affect all departments and their work, each Government Department is adapting to climate change in its own operations and policies.

Over the last two years DIUS has built upon the sustainable action plan, which sets out how the Department contributes to addressing climate change. A Science and Innovation White Paper has been published, including proposals on fostering private and public sector innovation which will help to identify technological and social solutions needed for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

DIUS has supported the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Learning and Skills Council in putting sustainability at the centre of their investment strategies.

DIUS has funded the Research Councils’ “Living with Environmental Change” (LWEC) initiative, a programme to increase resilience to and reduce costs of, environmental change, addressing the associated pressures on natural resources, ecosystem services, economic growth and social progress.

DIUS has also supported the Research Councils’ Energy Programme, bringing together energy-related research and training across the councils to address climate change and security of energy supply and to implement the Science and Innovation White Paper proposals on fostering private and public sector innovation.

To ask the Minster of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of his Department’s potential gross (a) costs and (b) savings arising from its climate change adaptation measures in the next three years. (277720)

It is not currently possible to provide estimates of the potential costs and savings over the next three years. It has, however, been shown in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change that timely and well-targeted climate adaptation measures will yield benefits in excess of their costs. The main rationale for investment to address climate risk will be to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to longer-term climate change impacts.

The Government are undertaking a Climate Change Risk Assessment and Economic Analysis, which will provide estimates of the costs and benefits of adaptation to the UK. This analysis will be presented to Parliament within three years of the Climate Change Act coming in to force.