The Welsh assembly government must do more to prepare for the impacts of climate change and support green growth, say advisors
In its second annual report, the climate change commission for Wales concludes that the devolved administration needs to develop a national adaptation plan, similar to that being prepared by the UK government, and ensure that sector-specific plans are being created.
With a 4°C global temperature rise looking increasingly likely, the commission warns that the Welsh government needs to focus on building resilience to climate change and, in particular, ramp up its support for sector adaptation plans, a number of which remain incomplete despite the commission’s previous recommendations.
The report also argues that the more must be done to engage individuals and organisations on energy efficiency. It warns that efforts to inspire behavior change have so far been “limited and ad-hoc” and says greater clarity is needed on the green deal. It also recommends that the Welsh assembly government does more to raise awareness of the benefits of cutting energy use in buildings.
Cutting emissions from transport is a priority, states the report, with greater support required for alternatives to travel, such as deployment of high-speed broadband and IT technologies. The commission also looks to the public sector to lead best practice and demonstrate the benefits of sustainable travel plans, flexible working, low-carbon fleets and teleconferencing.
“Everybody needs to play a part in adapting Wales to climate change,” said Peter Davies, chair of the commission. “The government needs to continue investing in flood defences while the public for example need to make lifestyle changes, and organisations need to develop their own management plans based around vulnerabilities.”
The commission also argues that a rapid transition to a green economy, is key to ensuring the Welsh government can meet its environmental targets and boost the economy.
“The commission members agree unanimously that a choice between the economy and the environment is not the way forward,” said Davies. “The solution to both the financial and environmental problems is a transition to a low-carbon economy.”
The commission’s report follows on from the UK climate change committee’s (CCC) analysis of progress by Wales on meeting its climate change targets, which was published last month. The CCC concluded that, while the Welsh government had made good progress in cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, more work needed to be done to speed up the rollout of energy-efficiency measures, develop renewable heat and power strategies, and boost efforts across all sectors.