Identify and prioritise actions
There will be a range of possible adaptation actions you can take. No organisation, community or business can adapt in isolation. A key aspect of choosing what to to about your climate change risks and opportunities is to work with others.
This stage of the process includes:
- collaborating and communicating
- identifying your significant climate risks
- discussing how you are managing your climate risks
- identifying your adaptation options
- prioritising your adaptation actions
Collaborate and communicate
It is important to involve people with a wide range of skills, experience and expertise in helping to identify your most significant climate risks and agree actions. Asking for help to prioritise vulnerabilities, assess climate risks and identify actions raises awareness of the challenge of adapting to climate change and helps to make sure that your assessments and actions are based on the best available knowledge and expertise. At the end of each stage, talk to your colleagues or the community about what you have discovered, what you have learnt and why it’s important.
Identify your most significant climate risks
Through work to understand the impacts of climate change (Stage 2) you are likely to have identified a wide range of vulnerabilities to current and future climate change impacts. The next job is to decide which of these vulnerabilities are most significant. You can do this by using risk assessment processes. The type of process you use will vary depending on the size, role and remit of your organisation business or community. If you are a community group you may wish to seek expert advice and support for this part of the process.
Discuss how you are managing your climate risks
Once you have identified your most significant climate risks it’s time to think about what action is needed to increase resilience and adapt. A good starting point is to identify what is already happening. Are there plans, policies or strategies that are already being used to help manage the most significant risks? Or projects planned that will help to increase resilience and ability to adapt?
Work out what further action is needed
It is a good idea to involve those who helped identify your most significant risks in helping to determine what action is needed. Are there any cases where urgent, immediate action is needed to increase the resilience of key assets or infrastructure? Are there opportunities to increase resilience as part of planned maintenance, development or community regeneration? Do current plans, policies, strategies, contracts and insurance take account of the most significant climate risks? If not then how and when can they be updated?
Identify a range of adaptation options
You will now look in more detail to identify and respond to the priority risks. Invite key people, such as a risk manager, to be involved in this exercise.
Prioritise your adaptation actions
After you have decided on the need for an adaptive action, consider the costs (both economic and who is impacted). What are the costs, who should pay them, how should responsibility be shared, who can help? Are there groups missing from the discussion e.g. those likely impacted (vulnerable groups) or those who have expertise to assist in the process (corporations)?
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Relevant case studies
Creating a Climate Change Risk Register with Aberdeenshire Council
Adaptation Scotland supported Aberdeenshire Council in creating their first Climate Change Risk Register. Read more
Screening for natural hazards to inform a Climate Change Risk Assessment
Historic Environment Scotland developed a GIS-based approach to inform their climate change risk assessment. Read more
Embedding climate change adaptation on corporate risk registers with Stirling Council
Adaptation Scotland helped Stirling Council take account of climate change impacts in its corporate risk register, ensuring the risks posed by climate change are considered at key decision points. Read more