The European Climate Change Adaptation conference comes to Glasgow:
“Climate change? We don’t need to worry about that yet. There are more urgent things we need to sort first.” Many of us will have heard this kind of response when raising the issue of climate change. I know I have. And the framing of our climate problem as a long term challenge is often shared by advocates of climate action and those aiming to defend the status quo alike – with the former appealing to our responsibility to future generations and the latter arguing we shouldn’t take action because the future is too uncertain. But the truth is, as many of us know, climate change has already started and its impacts are already ruining people’s lives around the world.
Huge rivers are disappearing in Northern Canada as glaciers recede, roads are melting in India, and even if we stopped all global greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow, those we’ve already released into our atmosphere would continue to drive climate change for many years to come. So, as we continue with efforts to reduce the worst effects of climate change, the question arises: what do we do about the impacts we have already set in motion?
This is the question over 1000 of the world’s top climate experts will be looking to answer as they arrive in Glasgow in June for the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference. The conference title may say ‘European’ but the focus is global, with presenters from forty-eight countries and five continents tackling problems from sinking cities to dangerous heat waves to disruption to the food systems we all rely on. The 2050 Climate Group will be involved too, with 2050 rapporteurs and our former chair, Elizabeth Dirth, joining the closing plenary with the European Commission’s Head of Climate Action, Andrea Tilche, and the New York City Mayor’s Office Special Advisor on Climate Policy and Programs, Lolita Jackson.
You can follow all the action across the five days of the conference (5-9 June) via the hashtag #ECCA2017 and students can still apply for volunteer passes to attend in person, helping Scotland continue to lead the way in effective climate action.
And I’ll be there too. In my role as Information Support Officer for the Adaptation Scotland programme, I’ll be joining colleagues in showcasing the progress Scotland is making to become a climate ready nation. Large-scale initiatives are already underway in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow to ensure Scotland’s population, infrastructure and economy is prepared for the turbulent times that may be ahead and there are lots of opportunities for 2050 young leaders to influence Scotland’s adaptation journey, either as part of your organisations or as active citizens in the places you live. I believe, coupled with the strongest efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation can be a catalyst to help us build a positive vision of the future: one where we don’t just swap dirty technology for clean (although that’s a great start), but instead change the places we live and work, and our behaviour in them, to follow the grain of natural forces. You can see examples of these kinds of transformations in Adaptation Scotland’s Climate Ready Places website. If you’d like help finding out more about the likely climate impacts on Scotland, how they might affect you or your organisation, and what you can do about it, let me know!
Blog contributed by David Macpherson, YLDP 2015-16. Information Support Officer, Sniffer
Contact David: David@sniffer.org.uk