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Developing Local Climate Change Plans

Developing Local Climate Change Plans

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This tool provides local policy-makers and major stakeholders with a methodology to plan for climate change. These plans must address both mitigation (e.g., reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) and adaptation (responding to the impacts of climate change). If they are to be effective, local plans for climate change (both adaptation and mitigation) require the involvement of a variety of stakeholders and a specific focus on the most vulnerable groups.
This tool provides local policy-makers and major stakeholders with a methodology to plan for climate change. These plans must address both mitigation (e.g., reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) and adaptation (responding to the impacts of climate change). If they are to be effective, local plans for climate change (both adaptation and mitigation) require the involvement of a variety of stakeholders and a specific focus on the most vulnerable groups.

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03/27/2014

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Climate models and climate scenarios
are part of a suite of tools that can be
used to determine likely changes in
climate patterns for a given region. While
weather refers to current atmospheric
conditions in a particular location (for
example, the temperature and whether it
is raining), climate is a broader-ranging,
longer-term phenomenon, including all
weather events occurring over a period of
years in a given place. Climate models are
computer programmes that predict the
climate system’s future behaviour based
on the fundamental laws of physics. They
are the best available representation of
our planet’s atmosphere but remain a
simplified version of climatic processes.
It is important to remember that while
modelling can be an effective tool when
assessing the future impacts of climate
change, it can only offer simplified
versions of reality and cannot remove all

uncertainty from the planning process. It
is also worth stressing that an absence
of detailed models does not stand in the
way of anyone in charge of local planning
for climate change, particularly where the
objective is to build resilience to a number
of shocks and stresses.

Climate models require two main sets of
inputs: the drivers of climate change and an
assessment of the ways that these affect the
climate. Neither of these can be accurately
known: future political and socio-economic
decisions will affect the quantity of
greenhouse gases emitted, while the way in
which these emissions affect overall climate
over a number of decades cannot be known
with certainty. Additional uncertainly results
when predictions about global temperature
and rainfall patterns are ‘downscaled’ to
local or regional scales – meaning that
accurate predictions at the level of the town
or city cannot be confidently made.

42 DEVELOPING LOCAL CLIMATE CHANGE PLANS

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