A changing climate will have significant and wide-ranging effects on all sectors of society, with the potential to cause significant economic and social disruption. Our current understanding of the level of exposure and vulnerability (risk) of the material fabric of society can be relatively easily quantified – the number of households at risk of a significant flood event for example. In this context, it is possible to make some assessment of the extent of these risks and formulate strategies and plans to address them.

The society theme of The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme looks at:

  • The resilience of communities against climate change impacts and in particular on vulnerable people.
  • The impacts from a changing climate on people's health and wellbeing.
  • The preparedness of the emergency and rescue services to deal with climate change impacts.
  • The impacts on businesses and industry from a changing climate.

Assessing the non-material risks to society as a whole and the extent to which adaptive capacity can be built through social capital is a more complicated task.

Consequently, the primary aims of Society theme are (to continue) to:

  • Objective S1 - Understand the effects of climate change and their impacts on people, homes and communities
  • Objective S2 - Increase the awareness of the impacts of climate change to enable people to adapt to future extreme weather events
  • Objective S3 - Support our health service and emergency responders to enable them to respond effectively to the increased pressures associated with a changing climate

We have developed indicators that cover climate change risks to society and our capacity to adapt. They are presented with the overarching narrative:

Climate change risks to society and our capacity to adapt