Climate change is nothing new in geological timescales. But in human timescales we have had a long period with a very stable climate. The planet is now warming and there are few scientists who doubt that these changes are the result of human activity. Scientists are predicting a continued rise in global temperatures leading to:
The Lake District is already experiencing more erratic weather patterns. Disastrous floods in 2009 and drought in 2010 are just two examples of extreme weather events. Over the years ahead we expect more significant changes. A study by Natural England identifies a range of impacts including:
The Lake District National Park Authority is aiming to become a leader in managing climate change. We are working to reduce our own impact on the climate by cutting our carbon emissions. We will be working with others through action and education in partnership with other organisations - you can read more on our Climate change page.
In January 2012 we launched Low Carbon Lake District and published Adapting to Climate Change in the Lake District (PDF). This looks in detail at the risks, opportunitie and actions presented by climate change.
We are part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership. Action to tackle climate change across Cumbria is led by a partnership of more than eighty organisations from all different walks of life in the county. Our vision is to work towards a net zero carbon county by 2037 with improved quality of life, people living in balance with their environment and a sustainable low carbon economy.
Local carbon budget: this UK first measures carbon emissions from the local area. We work with partners to meet reduction targets. Managed collectively by the Lake District National Park Partnership.
Carbon in the Lake District landscape: We have mapped the carbon currently stored in the Lake District, and calculated the amounts stored in peatlands and woodlands.
GoLakes Travel Programme: A three-year programme transforming how visitors get to, and travel around, the Central and Southern Lake District.
Our planning policies: these make sure development in the National Park meets the highest energy efficiency standards and, where possible, integrates low-carbon energy generation.
Our own carbon reduction: We have met our target to reduce our own carbon emissions by 25 per cent over four years. We are now committed to a rolling programme of carbon reduction.
Learning about climate: Our learning team has developed educational resources to help learning about climate change.
We are helping locals build resilience and adapt to a changing climate. In 2012 we published an initial assessment of risks, opportunities and actions for climate change adaptation in the Lake District.
Lake District Adaptation Report - updated 2014
Lake District Adaptation Report - updated 2015
Cumbria Carbon Footprint Report (PDF): We are working with local authorities in Cumbria and with the Local Enterprise Partnership, to measure and manage emissions across the county.