Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing us today. It's widely accepted that even with efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions there will be substantial and irreversible changes to our climate. Historic England’s research assesses the risks and opportunities presented by climate change for the historic environment.
Climate change mitigation
Climate change ‘mitigation’ refers to measures taken to reduce the greenhouse gases that exacerbate climate change in an attempt to limit future change. This includes things such as energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and efforts to store and offset carbon. Historic England recognises the importance of climate change mitigation and believes that energy efficiency and sustainable technology are compatible with the conservation of our heritage. We offer guidance on the installation of renewable energy generation and the historic environment, and also on energy efficiency and historic buildings.
Climate change adaptation
Climate change ‘adaptation’ refers to measures taken to adapt to climate change that's already inevitable. We know that even if greenhouse gas emissions were to cease entirely today, there are still climatic changes that we would experience as a consequence of previous emissions: sea level rise, changes in precipitation patterns (more intense downpours, more frequent droughts), warming in average temperatures and changes in storminess. We have set out our approach to adaptation to future climate change in a report to Government in 2016. We're committed to:
- Understanding the impacts of climate change upon the historic environment and our work
- Improving the resilience of our workforce
- Supporting increased resilience in the historic environment
- Embedding climate change adaptation and environmental risk management within projects and practices
- Promoting the positive role the historic environment can play
- Developing an approach for dealing with inevitable change, including loss
- Supporting the English Heritage Trust in addressing climate change impacts on the National Collection