Against a backdrop of political uncertainty on many fronts – not least in global climate change policy – the UK Committee on Climate Change convened a conference towards the end of 2016 to reflect on the messages coming out of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report, published earlier in the year.

The event brought together climate change adaptation researchers, research funders, other experts, policy makers and research users to look at future climate risk and adaptation priorities across the UK. ClimateXChange was one of a group of Scottish participants.

The Evidence Report itself was a highly collaborative project involving over 80 partners, including ClimateXChange. It was collated in preparing the Climate Change Risk Assessment published last week by Defra. The document sets out a number of challenges for the adaptation community, particularly in filling gaps in our understanding of the risks and gaps in our knowledge about the best routes to action. Now is the time to identify ways to address those challenges – so that we are better prepared for the next Climate Change Risk Assessment due in 2022. The Committee on Climate Change event was an important first step in setting out an agenda for specific projects to fill those gaps. The next step is for research providers and funders to work together to realise those ideas

For ClimateXChange, the key next step is to identify and act on the critical knowledge gaps for progress on adaptation in Scotland. The very wide range of issues highlighted in the Evidence Report – from uncertainty around the risks of overheating in hospitals to the need to understand compound impacts on critical infrastructure – is itself a challenge: how should we prioritise our activity and resources in light of this sweeping and complex set of issues. To this end, ClimateXChange will over the next two months be working with policy colleagues and partners from right across our research community to identify the really key evidence needs for Scotland. We are working up three issues papers to help us do this. And we will be consulting widely with expert voices outside of ClimateXChange too. If you would like to be a part of that conversation, please email me!

Read more about the ASC conference and outputs on the Climate Change Committee website.