Climate and Resilience

The text Devon needs you on a cartoon background filled with people cycling and shopping

Our planet’s climate is changing and warming at an accelerating rate. The last decade has been the warmest on record and as a result we are seeing more extreme weather events, ocean acidification and rising sea levels.

Climate change is happening right here in Devon too. Over the last 100 years sea levels have risen by 17cm, with two coastlines, this puts Devon’s seaside communities under threat. Similarly over 70% of land in Devon is in agricultural use, more unpredictable weather in the future will threaten farming.

The Local Nature Partnership recognises the urgency of taking action against climate change and is part of the Devon Climate Emergency. This is a collaboration between local authorities and organisations who have declared a climate and ecological emergency. By working together we will

  • Improve our environment – by increasing the resilience of our ecosystems against the effects of climate change
  • Reduce carbon emissions – through the reduction of carbon emissions by 2050 and restoring natural environments to store carbon
  • Get communities ready –  by preparing communities across Devon for the necessary adaptations to infrastructure and services to respond to a warmer world.

As a Local Nature Partnership we know it is essential to use natural solutions to capture carbon and increase our resilience to climate change and flooding. Restoring peatlands, wetlands, saltmarsh and soils along with creating new habitats such as woodland will help us to achieve net-zero and increase our climate resilience.

Action on climate in Devon

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has advised that carbon emissions must reduce globally by at least 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels. There is a chance we can avoid the worst effects of climate change by keeping warming below 1.5 degrees. To achieve this we must be carbon neutral (net-zero) by 2050 or earlier.

In response, a range of public, private and voluntary organisations from across Devon came together on 22nd May 2019 to form the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, to declare a climate and ecological emergency and to endorse the principles of the Devon Climate Declaration.

This recognises that we are aware of the significant implications of climate change for Devon’s communities and commits the signatories to work together on developing a Devon Carbon Plan, which is being developed by the Net-Zero Task Force.

Additionally, it recognises that we need to understand the near-term and future risks of climate change for Devon to plan for how our infrastructure, public services and communities will have to adapt for a warmer world. This work is being taken forward by the Climate Impacts Group.

Vision

  • By 2030 to be maximising the potential for sequestering carbon across our landscape and coastal waters and minimising carbon emissions from land.

Leads

Current work

  • The Climate Impacts Group was tasked with producing an impacts report for Devon by mid May 2020. This would highlight specific key issues for Devon on a range of themes including public health, community risk, the natural environment, agriculture etc.
  • The Devon Local Nature Partnership agreed to provide the headline environmental information for this report and commissioned the Westcountry Rivers Trust to develop this as an evidence review to better understand the projected impacts of climate change on Devon’s natural environment: Climate Change and Devon’s Natural Environment – Evidence Review.

Partner projects / links

Devon Climate Emergency – creating a net-zero Devon where people and nature thrive

Action on Climate in Teignbridge (ACT) – Climate Emergency ACT now

The South West Environment and Climate Actions Network (SWeCAN)