With recent extreme weather conditions leading to an increased awareness of the devastating impact of climate change, the eyes of the world will be focussed on the UK later this year as Glasgow plays host to perhaps the most pivotal UN Climate Change conference ever held, COP26.
Whilst effective global responses to the threat posed by the climate crisis are of course critical, how can communities be supported at the local level to better adapt and respond to the climate emergency? The fundamental changes required to the economy to become net zero by 2050 and to be resilient to unpredictable weather patterns present an opportunity to ‘level up’ like no other.
‘Left behind’ neighbourhoods are likely to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than other parts of the country. What can we do to ensure that these communities do not bear the costs of climate change mitigation and a move to zero carbon, and are able instead to be at the heart of, and benefit from, a just transition?
- Madhur Mehra, Director of Research and Anna Reid, Research Executive, Survation
- Luke Murphy, Head of the Environmental Justice Commission
- Mark Pepper, Development Manager, Ambition Lawrence Weston
This briefing provides an overview of the risks and opportunities that climate change poses for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. It reveals that these neighbourhoods will likely face disproportionate negative
environmental, social and economic impacts due to the climate crisis. However, it also shows how community-led responses to climate change could provide an opportunity to level up England’s 225 ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods, and discusses how they could be better supported to take full advantage of the net zero transition.
Community Responses to Climate Change
- The climate commons: how communities can thrive in a climate changing world. IPPR (2021). Based on extensive consultations, this report showcases the ways communities across the country are undertaking numerous initiatives to tackle the impact of climate change.
- Community-led responses to climate change. The National Lottery Community Fund (2012). This study looks at how communities are engaged in responding to climate change, identifies some of the barriers groups may face in responding effectively and reflects on what their support needs might be.
- Galvanising community-led responses to climate change. Nesta (2010). Drawing on the experience of 10 community groups as part of NESTA’s Big Green Challenge, this report proposes a series of practical recommendations for the UK government to ensure that communities can take part in the response to climate change.
Current policy and approaches
- Policy Paper: National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England. Environment Agency (2020). This national strategy from the government agency talks about the social aspect of community resilience.
- How do you generate effective community-led action on climate in 2021? Community Energy England (2021). In this blog, Keith Hempshall, Head of Local & Community Empowerment at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), shares his vision on how to foster effective community-led action.
- Community resilience development framework. Cabinet Office (2019). This framework reflects the efforts of the Cabinet Office to develop local resilience in the face of increased extreme weather and to put communities in the lead of emergency planning, response and recovery.