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What do you need to know about climate change?

June 19, 2009

FloodedBenchClimate change managed to elbow some other meaty issues out of the headlines yesterday, with the release of the 2050 projections from the UK Climate Impacts Programme, including data specific to the East Midlands. More on that later, but as a few climate change queries have been pinging round the REM office in the last couple of weeks, I thought it might be a good opportunity for a quick catch-up on activity in the region.

If you’re involved in pretty much any area of policy, chances are you need to take account of climate change in your strategy. The region’s Climate Change Programme of Action should be your first port of call: providing the policy context for action in the region, sources of evidence and the regional response in both mitigation (getting our emissions down) and adaptation (responding to the changes which haven’t happened yet, but can’t be prevented). You can also find a handy map of the current partnership arrangements between national, regional and local bodies.

Here at REM, we’re involved in a couple of exciting projects starting this year. IEM is coordinating the production of a document mapping CO2 emissions across the region, as well as the targets for reduction which districts have committed to through within Local Area Agreements. (Click on these links to see more on these indicators and which districts are signed up: NI185, NI186 and NI188).

October sees the beginning of a three-year PhD project I’m undertaking at University of Nottingham examining implementation of climate change policy across the region, the first of its kind in the country. The project is being jointly funded by REM with the Economic and Social Research Council and promises to be a very exciting opportunity to examine how the region responds to a challenging and fast-evolving area of public policy. I’ll be posting a bit more detail on this soon.

…oh yes, about those projected impacts. The full regional breakdown is here, but the broad picture for the region is of hotter, drier summers in conjunction with wetter winters. The East Midlands is already one of the driest regions in the country, so these changes have a potentially significant impact on our large agricultural sector, not to mention the effect of rising sea levels on Lincolnshire.

When the figures are laid out like this, hopefully the importance of the issue in all areas of public policy become clear.

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