Adapting to Climate Change
Whilst Birmingham is already taking great steps to reduce its carbon footprint it is equally important to ensure that the city and its residents are prepared for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
The Climate Change Adaptation Partnership is working to co-ordinate Birmingham's preparation for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.
Detailed climate projections scenarios produced by DEFRA show that by 2080 we are likely to see:
- average summer temperatures increase by 3.7°C/6.66ºF and by up to 10°C/18ºF on the hottest day
- average summer rainfall reduce by 20%
- average winter rainfall increase by 18%, and by up to 30% more on the wettest day
In addition to these climate changes, it is expected that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events will increase. The challenge is to assess the risks and opportunities that arise from climate change in Birmingham and develop an action plan that will put in place the necessary measures to protect and prepare us all, as well as capitalise on potential opportunities.
What is being done?
There are many on-going projects that will ensure Birmingham has a thorough and accurate climate change adaptation strategy:
- Birmingham climate profiles- A report highlighting how Birmingham’s climate will change.
- GIS risk/vulnerability mapping tool- A GIS map risk assessment tool which will prioritise adaptation to ensure that the most vulnerable residents are safe.
- Sector specific risk and vulnerability risk assessment- An assessment of risks and opportunities that will arise from climate change.
- The BUCCANEER - Birmingham Urban Climate Change with Neighbourhood Estimates of Environmental Risk. This is a tool which will demonstrate the effect of climate change on Birmingham’s UHI. The model will tie in with the vulnerability tool (above) to assess where vulnerable residents are most at risk from the UHI.
- Community consultation- A community event with Birmingham City Council’s Resilience Team provided residents with a chance to highlight their concerns regarding the impacts of climate change and to develop projects to build resilience to extreme weather in our communities.
- River Cole Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP)- The project aims to develop a SWMP for the River Cole’s catchment area which suffered significant flooding in September 2007 and has had several near misses both before and since.
- Green Infrastructure assessment- Green infrastructure has a wide range of benefits in adapting to climate change.
- Practical projects such as the Washwood Heath brook clearance aim to prepare areas worst affected by flooding.
Birmingham is also one of twelve demonstration cities from around the world, taking part in an EU/UN funded programme fronted by SWITCH to look at sustainable water management. The programme is currently in the third of five years and will look to implement several pilot projects to assess water management in the final two years.
Birmingham recently won the Local Authority Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) award for its groundbreaking risk mapping research to understand the impacts of extreme weather and climate change on Birmingham’s diverse communities. The award is for innovative and new approaches to research that will impact on policy and practice.