We’re asking people across the region to give their views on a regional strategy that will help ensure that that our county as well as Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly can make the changes needed to cope with the worst effects of climate change.
From Tuesday 9 May residents are being consulted on the Climate Adaptation Strategy for Devon, Cornwall, and Isles of Scilly ahead of its publication later this year.
To effectively respond to the climate crises, it is vital that strategies are put in place to deal with both the cause of rising greenhouse gases and their effect on our communities, also called Mitigation and Adaptation.
Mitigation focuses on tackling the causes of climate change to make the inevitable impacts of rising global temperatures less severe by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases to net-zero.
Whereas Adaptation is the process of adjusting to the impacts of climate change that we are already seeing and can be expected in the future.
The draft Adaptation Strategy has been delivered by the Devon, Cornwall, and Isles of Scilly Climate Impacts Group, with the assistance of RSK, an engineering and environmental consultancy.
The Group is a partnership of strategic organisations, including local authorities like us, chaired by the Environment Agency. The draft Strategy specifically looks at climate impacts which require, or which would benefit from, working in partnership.
The Strategy accepts that significant climate ‘shocks’ are inevitable, and as the world grows warmer, different places, depending on factors like geography and population, will be affected in different ways.
For instance, our region has approximately 1500km of coastline, and rising sea levels of up to 78cm by the 2080s will put the region’s low lying and coastal communities at increased risk while extreme weather events such as storms will become more severe and more frequent and could lead to increased flooding for communities near rivers and watercourses.
Public water supplies will need more than 3.4 billion extra litres of water per day by 2050 impacting our rural economy as crop failures will become more frequent in response to droughts.
And as global temperatures rise, the seas will become more acidic, putting fishing stocks at risk.
The Adaptation Strategy is divided into three, beginning with a Risk Assessment of the impact of climate change in our region including flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion, reduced availability of water and extreme temperatures.
The second part is the Strategic Adaptation Plan which sets out the conditions to enable regional partners to act on adapting to climate change together; and finally, an Action Plan, highlighting where we should focus our efforts over the next five years.
Mark Rice, the Environment Agency’s Area Director, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:
“Significant impacts from climate change are now inevitable, but we can successfully respond to the climate emergency through greater, collective focus on adaptation to the increased hazards that are already evident.
“Mitigation and adaptation are of equal importance, but while reducing emissions now will help minimise the extent of climate change and its impact on communities and wildlife, in the longer term it is adaptation and how well prepared we are for climate shocks that will save lives.
“This is why the Climate Adaptation Strategy is so vital – it looks at climate impacts, risks and actions which require regional solutions.
“By responding to the consultation, you will have the opportunity to influence the future resilience of your community.”
You can view the Adaptation Strategy, a series of ‘short-reads’ and respond to the consultation HERE.
If you’ would like to fill out the questionnaire at home, you can order a copy by emailing email@example.com or by phoning 03451551015.