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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

The UK Climate Change Adaptation Policy Framework by Dr Andy Russell

Date: 3 May 2022

This event is part of the new CCLS seminar series 'Sustainability and the Law’, funded by the Society of Legal Scholars.

In this seminar, we brought together the science and law of climate change. More specifically, Dr Andy Russell evaluated the Climate Change Act (2008) from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Climate Change Act sets out one of the first legally binding, national responses to the climate crisis in the world. It has become a template for many other countries and the 2019 amendment to the net zero target again led the world in responding to climate change.

However, alongside the well-known policies and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Act also sets in place a process of climate change risk assessment, national adaptation planning and progress reporting. This lesser-known, and arguably less successful, aspect of the Act was the focus of this seminar. In particular, Dr Andy Russell looked at an example of flood and coastal erosion risk management policy and examine how well our actions are aligned with risks that we face. Dr Franziska Arnold-Dwyer gave a short reply on how the insurance industry has worked with the UK Government under the Flood Re Scheme to protect private households against the financial impact of flood damage.

About the speaker

Dr Russell is a Lecturer in Environmental Sciences in the School of Geography at QMUL. His research focuses on the physical science aspects of climate change impacts and on the adaptation responses taken by societies. This work is mostly around flooding and coastal erosion in the UK and he his currently a British Academy Innovation Fellow investigating new approaches to setting flood risk management targets. He has previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in Climate Change at Brunel University (2010-17), a Senior Science and Policy Analyst for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC, 2017-2020) and as Evidence Lead in Defra and BEIS (2020-21). He is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS) and a Senior Fellow of the HEA (SFHEA).

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