Report: The economic and financial risk of climate change for Glasgow City Region and proposed adaptation options

A changing climate not only presents a risk to society and the environment, it is also a significant economic and financial risk for Glasgow City Region. The climate debate has changed and public lenders and financial markets are now aware of climate change. As a result, climate risks are now being considered as financial risks.

Finnieston crane Glasgow

Climate Ready Clyde commissioned Paul Watkiss Associates to write a position paper to inform our Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan which will be launched towards the end of 2020. The Paper is based on the second phase of a study on ‘The economic implications of climate change for Glasgow City Region’. This study looks in detail at the economic implications of climate risk, and outlines early priorities for adaptation in Glasgow City Region, based on the previously published risks in Climate Ready Clyde’s ‘Climate risk and opportunity assessment’. The adaptation priorities are focused on quick wins which make economic sense now, a framework for screening long-term investment decisions which are hard to do, and a long-term iterative plan for the management of the Clyde River Corridor. Phase 1 of this study looked at the economic impact of climate change risks and opportunities as part of the Climate Risk and Opportunity Assessment.

Download the full report (PDF)

Download the summary report (PDF)

The Paper presents a draft climate change adaptation framework to help Glasgow City Region structure early resilience measures to help protect its people and places from the impacts of a changing climate.

Which climate risks need to be addressed and when?

The framework proposed in the Paper suggests focusing on those with the strongest economic justification and focuses on three different types of priorities:

  1. Quick wins. The previous phase of the economics study identified that there are already high weather-related impacts in the Glasgow City Region, and these weather events are projected to increase in frequency due to climate change. These have important financial and economic costs. However, there are many early, low-regret options that can be introduced to address these existing risks.
  2. Climate risk assessments. Using these tools for city region investments, and particularly infrastructure projects are key to reducing risk for projects in the planning stage. Many of the Glasgow City Region City Deal investments have important climate risks, and use of assessments as early as possible will mitigate said risks.
  3. Adaptation Pathway planning. This is a new approach to manage long-term climate risks. It uses an iterative approach that reviews and updates plans over time, to take advantage of new information such as climate risks, or adaptation options. The Paper focuses on the potential use of such an approach for coastal flooding in the region, transferring international best practice to the Clyde Corridor. There is a valuable role for these methods in structuring and communicating a long-term, iterative approach, and they help demonstrate that climate uncertainty is not a barrier to action.

The Paper has identified that Glasgow City Region is in a strong position to ensure economic development takes account of the new climate investment landscape, where climate change is being viewed as a financial risk which in turn creates new expectations and requirements from lenders, investors, developers, and others.

It concludes that the development of a strategic adaptation framework, and the identification of early adaptation priorities would be extremely beneficial in the development of the regional Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. This would help to identify the (urgent) actions that could be prioritised in the next plan cycle (i.e. next five years or so) and provide a strong economic rationale to ensure value for money.

This Paper has been co-funded by Scottish Government and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation project COACCH (The Co-Assessment of Climate CHange costs).

Download the full report (PDF)

Download the summary report (PDF)