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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Adapting to the effect of climate change and demand shift on the UK's decarbonized energy system

As Nicholas Stern said "Adaptation is a vital part of a response to the challenge of climate change" and, although nations have acknowledge the need to adapt since 1995(Burton, 2006), it was until 2010, when the Cancun Adaptation Framework was adopted, that the parties committed to address adaptation with the same level of priority as mitigation(UNFCCC, 2013a).
As climate change becomes more widely understood, it is accepted that adaptation strategies are needed at all levels of administration: local, regional and national level.
The UK has already been taking several steps forward with actions like the UK Climate Projections 2009 and the National Adaptation Programme coming in 2013. Local authorities had the NI188 as guidance and reporting measure, but in 2010 the NI188 usage ended(DEFRA, 2013) leaving local authorities without a clear reporting framework. This dissertation aims to evaluate if indeed local authorities have e ective adaptation strategies in place and diagnose problems that could cause failures to deliver.
The approach was to evaluate 10 of the most important local authorities, through the development of a multi-criteria framework by assigning numerical scores to criteria that reect the content, the quality and clarity of the adaptation plans. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with relevant representatives of those authorities to provide deeper understanding of their situation and the basis for their decisions on design and implementation. Obtained results suggest great di erence between cities' adaptive capacity and their ability to produce an e ective strategy. The average score obtained was 81.2 for those authorities already implementing adaptation action and 59.2 for those still building adaptive capacity.The lowest score obtained was 54.5 and the highest 89.3. All local councils experienced similar barriers, but some of them have perceived them greater than others.
Transparency in processes was identi ed as one of the key characteristics missing within most of the evaluated councils and including it could help enhance the effectiveness of their practice. Furthermore, motivation to adapt needs to be fostered in some cases.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.