Our climate is changing and the impacts from it are likely to affect most of us in some way during our lifetimes. There have always been natural fluctuations in climate but observational records show that we are seeing rates of change far greater than those experienced in recent history. Precise satellite measurements show that the global mean sea level is rising by an average of over 3 millimetres per year and accelerating, average annual sea surface temperature is rising, with each of the last 11 years among the 12 warmest on record and Arctic sea-ice retreated to its smallest ever observed extent in September last year.
The government has assessed the risks posed by the changing climate. Extreme events, such as the flooding which occurred throughout the country in late 2012, or the drought of early 2012, are likely to become more frequent and more severe in the coming decades, bringing potential disruption to the economy. However, the government has also found that there are opportunities for some businesses who do take action.
This Programme has been drawn up by the government, industry and other non government organisations working together. It contains a mix of policies and actions to help us to adapt successfully to future weather conditions, by dealing with the risks and making the most of the opportunities.