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B3. Climate change adaptation


Indicator previously under development: no plans for further development.

This indicator was not updated in 2023. It was last updated in 2019. 

Actions that are taken to adapt to climate change can reduce the risk of biodiversity loss, and provide opportunities for biodiversity to adapt to changing circumstances. However, this is a difficult concept to measure, and it has not been possible to develop an indicator. There are no plans for further development.

Key results

No change from the previous publication and there are no plans for further development of this indicator.

Following the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 to 2020 by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, the UK biodiversity indicators were reviewed, and a programme of work was put in place to develop and refine the indicator set for future reporting to the CBD. In the review, a small number of gaps were identified where there were no current indicators for particular CBD goals and targets. One such gap related to indicators for reporting on climate change adaptation.


Progress to date

Climate change indicators potentially need to cover a breadth of issues. Previous work highlighted possibilities to develop measures relating to water stress in protected areas, and gains and losses in coastal habitats, but a number of technical issues have meant that it is not possible to collate and present UK-wide data as previously expected.



According to the UK Meteorological Office, the average temperature over the first decade of the 21st century was significantly warmer than any preceding decade in the series of records stretching back over 160 years.  In the Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate change concluded in paragraph SPM 1.2 that ‘Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmo­spheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic driv­ers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century’.   Model simulations indicate that global surface temperature change by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to 1850.

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report defines climate change adaptation as 'adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities’. Actions that are taken to adapt to climate change can reduce the risk of biodiversity loss, and provide opportunities for biodiversity to adapt to changing circumstances.


Goals and Targets

The UK and England Biodiversity Indicators are currently being assessed alongside the Environment Improvement Plan Targets, and the new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Targets, when this work has been completed the references to Biodiversity 2020 and the Aichi Global Biodiversity Framework Targets will be updated.

Aichi Targets for which this is a primary indicator

Strategic Goal B. Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.

Aichi Target 10 icon

Target 10: By 2015, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimised, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning. 

Strategic Goal D. Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Aichi Target 15 icon

Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification. 

Aichi Target for which this is a relevant indicator



Last updated: September 2019

Latest data: N/A


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UK Biodiversity Indicators 2023

Published: .

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