Monitoring Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from Scotland

  • Susan RoafEmail author
  • Katherine Beckmann


The growing scale and frequency of the consequences of climate change are writ large across local, regional and international landscapes and increasingly require governments to develop policies and action plans that can effectively reduce and manage the impacts of more extreme weather on their social, economic and physical systems. In order to Mitigate, one has to measure how well policies to effect changes in such national systems are working, how well, in fact, they are resulting in successful adaption to an altered world. Scotland has pioneered the development of its own locally appropriate Adaptation Indicators within the framework of a Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP). This has been funded to address the impacts identified for Scotland in the first UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA). A first set of indicators developed relates to the impacts on populations of extreme weather and climate events in the contexts of the built and natural environments. As the hazards posed by a changing climate manifest themselves and escalate, regions are preparing action plans to protect themselves against those growing impacts over time. There is an important role to be played here by built environment professionals in the development of such national indicator sets and the implementation of the related climate mitigation and adaptation action plans. This paper sets out how we in Scotland approached the challenge of developing related indicator sets, some of the lessons learnt in framing them and challenges identified in doing so.


Adaptation Indicators Climate change 


  1. Adaptation Sub-Committee (2011) How well is Scotland Preparing for Climate Change. London, Climate Change Committee:
  2. Berrang-Ford L, Ford JD et al (2011) Are we adapting to climate change? Glob Environ Chang 21(1):25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crichton D (2001) A Scottish lead in managing flood isk. Town Country Plan 6:188–189. (See also Roaf et al. 2009)Google Scholar
  4. DEFRA (2004) Review of UK climate change indicators. DEFRA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Engle NL (2011) Adaptive capacity and its assessment. Glob Environ Chang 21(2):647–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eriksen S, Kelly PM (2007) Developing credible vulnerability indicators for climate adaptation policy assessment. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 12(4):495–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hofmann ME, Hinkel J et al (2011) Classifying knowledge on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in Europe for informing adaptation research and decision-making: a conceptual meta-analysis. Glob Environ Chang 21(3):1106–1116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. IPPC (2001) Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability: contribution of Working Group II to the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  9. IPPC (2007a) Climate change 2007 impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry JP, Palutikof PJ, van der Linden and Hanson CE (eds) Working Group II contribution to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC. O. F. C. M.L. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. IPPC (2007b) Definitions of key terms within Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Retrieved 8 Nov 2011, from
  11. Levina E, Tirpak D (2006) Adaptation to climate change: key terms. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Energy Agency, ParisGoogle Scholar
  12. Metzger MJ, Rounsevell MDA et al (2006) The vulnerability of ecosystem services to land use change, Agriculture. Ecol Environ 114(1):69–85Google Scholar
  13. Natural England (2010) Climate change adaptation indicators for the natural environment. N. Williams, Peterborough, Atkins, p 68Google Scholar
  14. Roaf S, (2013) Transitioning to eco-cities: reducing carbon emissions while improving urban welfare, Chapter 7. In: Young-Doo Wang, John Byrne (eds) Secure & green energy economies. Transaction Publishers, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Roaf S, Crichton D, Nicol F (2009) Adapting buildings and cities for climate change. Architectural Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Scottish Government (2014) Climate ready Scotland: Scottish climate change adaptation programme. Retrieved 6 June 2016 at:
  17. Tyndall Centre (2004) New indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Accessed on August 16, 2016 at:

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EGISHeriot Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

Personalised recommendations