Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Public Sector Policy Makers, Resource Managers, and Practioners

Scottish Climate Change Partnership (SCCIP)
Created: 3/31/2011 -


The global climate is changing with far reaching implications for Scotland. Greenhouse gases already emitted into the atmosphere mean that some climate change is unavoidable regardless of future emissions. Adapting to climate change presents a significant challenge for organisations across Scotland’s public sector which must consider the risks and opportunities presented.

Public sector organisations have an essential role to play in helping Scotland prepare for, and respond to changes in climate. They are strongly encouraged to take an early and planned approach to climate change adaptation. This document provides public sector policy makers,resource managers and practitioners with an introduction to climate change adaptation. It includes:

Climate information: Key facts and figures about the changes in climate that have been observed in the recent past and the changes that are projected for this century.

Justifying action: Information on the need to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.

Planned and flexible approaches to adaptation: The benefits of using existing plans and policies to develop a flexible approach to adaptation and information about developing a phased approach to adaptation planning.

Service and infrastructure impacts: Some of the ways that public sector services and infrastructure are likely to be affected by changes in climate.

Policy context: An overview of the climate change adaptation legislative and policy drivers. Information and support: The resources that are available to help public sector organisations adapt to changes in climate.

See the accompying workbook as well. This workbook provides a set of practical worksheets that organisations can use to better understand how they may be impacted by changes in climate and prepare a planned response.

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Adaptation Scotland is an intiative that brings together stakeholders in Scotland to collectively address and prepare for the impacts of climate change. It endeavers to do this by:

  • Supporting policy framework implementation;
  • Providing adaptation planning support for organisations and communities;
  • Delivering adaptation skills training to help build capacity;
  • A gateway for adaptation information in Scotland; and
  • Providing technical support on the application of the UK Climate Projections and other key information.


National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Land Use Planning
Public Health
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Transportation: retrofitting and improvements
Buildings: retrofitting and improvements
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Growing season
Infrastructure damage
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events