Climate Just: Supporting planners in understanding social and spatial vulnerability to climate change

We're helping spread understanding of how vulnerability to climate change varies across England.

What is Climate Just?

Screenshot of the Climate Just mapping tool.

Climate Just is a mapping tool created by Prof Richard Kingston. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it:

  • combines climate change research and the understanding that climate change impact is unevenly distributed, socially and geographically;
  • raises awareness about climate disadvantage among local authorities;
  • informs local authorities' decision making.

Users were at the heart of the tool's functional and technical development. Development was informed by:

  • a participatory user needs and requirements analysis;
  • data generated from the EU-FP7-funded GRaBS (Green and Blue Space Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas) project;
  • the tool's community of intended users.

Prof Kingston has spent two decades developing methods and tools to increase accessibility to Geographic Information Science (GIS).

What impact has Climate Just had?

Among policymakers and practitioners, Climate Just has:

  • raised awareness of social and geographic climate disadvantage;
  • encouraged its consideration in determining risk across different areas and people;
  • provided a practical mechanism to measure climate disadvantage;
  • allowed the identification of affected groups and areas;
  • enabled the use of conceptual and empirical information to inform decision-making.

As the Climate Just research demonstrates, we need to consider factors such as whether someone lives alone, income levels or housing quality. Local authorities working with partners could work to these criteria. The Climate Just website provides compiled maps to assist with this.

Workshop Participant / Climate Just

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has used Climate Just data to assess the vulnerability of more than 1,000 potential development sites considered for inclusion in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). Data has also been imported into the Greater Manchester Open Data Infrastructure Map.

In addition, analysis has informed the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report. For the first time ever, this report highlighted social equity as an influence on susceptibility to climate change risk.

Climate Just is also cited in Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) guidance on climate change adaptation for local authorities. Previously, guidance made no reference to climate justice.

Similarly, the European Environment Agency (EEA) highlights Climate Just as the most comprehensive and detailed tool for supporting policymakers in developing socially just responses to climate change.

Previously, the EEA has tended to take an environment-centred approach that attached little weight to social or spatial inequality. Climate Just has helped to change this focus.

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