Informing UK governance of resilience to climate risks: improving the local evidence-base
International assessments of evidence on climate change (e.g. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) or national climate change risk assessments (e.g. UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, CCRA) do not offer a sufficiently granular perspective on climate impacts to adequately inform governance of resilience to climate risks at the local level. Using an analysis of UK decision-makers managing and responding to heatwaves and flood risks, this paper argues how more robust local evidence is needed to inform decision-making regarding adaptation options for enhancing local resilience. We identify evidence gaps and issues relating to local climate change impacts, including sources and quality of evidence used, adequacy and accessibility of evidence available, illcommunicated evidence and conflicting or misused evidence. A lack of appreciation regarding how scientific evidence and personal judgement can mutually enhance the quality of decision-making underpins all of these gaps. Additionally, we find that the majority of evidence currently used is reductively based upon socio-economic and physical characteristics of climate risks. We argue that a step change is needed in local climate resilience that moves beyond current physical and socio-economic risk characterisation to a more inclusive co-constitution of social and politically defined climate risks at the local scale that are better aligned with the local impacts felt and needs of stakeholders.
Howarth, C., Morse-Jones, S., Kythreotis, A. et al. Informing UK governance of resilience to climate risks: improving the local evidence-base. Climatic Change (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-020-02821-3