Cranfield helps business tackle the adaptation challenge

Posted: Wednesday 7th September 2011

Cranfield University has launched its Centre for Climate Change Adaptation to assist businesses and government in shaping effective strategies to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The climate is changing. For the UK, hotter drier summers and warmer wetter winters are predicted, together with more extreme weather events. Internationally, impacts vary from country to country, but with more losers than winners. Businesses need to take action now to prepare for these changes, but the best adaptation options will vary depending on the business and the sector.

The new Centre, under the leadership of Dr Keith Weatherhead, an international expert on climate change impacts and adaptation and on water resources in the water supply and food production sectors, will conduct tailored research to identify the risks and evaluate potential adaptations.

“Understanding the appropriate business responses to climate change is not straightforward” commented Dr Weatherhead. “Organisations often already have much of the information required to shape their strategic responses, but need practical help in sorting and analysing it, placing it in the context of future socio-economic changes and the other business risks they face, and then summarising it for their Boards and executives”.

Cranfield has been working closely with sectors including water and agriculture on climate change adaptation, and the University has been advising Defra on the risk assessments that ‘reporting authorities’ must submit to the Secretary of State on the impacts of climate change to their business. Recently appointed Lecturer in Climate Change Adaptation, Dr Simon Jude, added, “We are attempting to bring clarity and practicability to the table. Well prepared organisations will be able to assess the impact of climate change on their business, understand the really critical aspects and then devise forward plans of action to mitigate these risks. The good practice we observe from the reporting authorities will be shared more widely in due course”.

Cranfield’s support to business on adaptation is underpinned by the University’s applied expertise, with recent projects investigating adaption strategies for UK water companies, water supply and sanitation for the urban poor in Africa, and agricultural water resource management in England and Wales. Current adaptation research includes the use of climate projections in risk-based decision-making.

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