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The impact of climate change is increasingly gaining public attention

Reports of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, costal erosion, flooding, storm surges, wildfires and drought are increasing. The impact on air quality, biodiversity, food security and infrastructure are just some of the consequences being felt by individuals and organisations across the globe. 

While the focus has been on commitments to achieve net-zero targets and the implementation of plans to reduce carbon emissions, it is also important that organisations and Governmental departments and agencies consider climate change adaptation given that the effects of climate change will continue over a long period and are not immediately reversible.

To help organisations of all sizes and types address the impacts of climate change a series of standards on climate adaptation have been published. These include:

I.S. EN ISO 14090:2019 – Adaptation to Climate Change – principles, requirements and guidelines, providing extensive guidance on impact assessment methods, identifying and evaluating potential actions (their suitability and potential impact) and developing the content and objectives of an organisation's adaptation plan.

I.S. EN ISO 14091:2021 – Adaptation to climate change – Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment, helps organisations understand and have visibility in relation to their vulnerability to climate change and how to develop and implement a sound risk assessment. It can be used for assessing both present and future climate change risks. Having such information would help organisations make better business decisions when faced with the impacts of climate change.

NSAI ISO TS 14092:2020 – Adaptation to climate change — Requirements and guidance on adaptation planning for local governments and communities aims to support local governments and communities in the development of plans to address adaptation to climate change taking account vulnerabilities, impacts and risks relevant at a local government level providing a more focused and nuanced approach in adapting to climate change.

There is also a  I.S. EN ISO 14090 COLLECTION:2021 available to purchase.

Sustainability and environmental professionals responsible for embedding climate change mitigation and adaptation into their organisations will find these publications to be invaluable resources in assessing climate change impacts and putting plans in place for effective adaptation to deal with current and future changes encountered.

To further help organisations embed climate adaptation into their processes and incorporate it into existing environmental management systems (EMS), ISO have also published a short white paper showing how the guidance in I.S. EN ISO 14090 aligns with I.S. EN ISO 14001:2015. The goal of the white paper is to aid users of I.S. EN ISO 14001 accelerate their adaptation to climate change and build resilience into their processes and organisations. It goes through the key clauses of I.S. EN ISO 14001, showing how I.S. EN ISO 14090 supports them and provides further assistance, all laid out in a helpful table. The ISO 14090 – 14001 white paper is available to download for free from the ISO website at Whitepaper How to use ISO 14090 to support ISO 14001.pdf

Want to know more about I.S. EN ISO 14090? You can watch a recording of a webinar organised by CEN and CENELEC on the topic.

Publication of these guidance documents is timely with the upcoming review of Ireland's National Adaptation Framework (NAF). The NAF specifies the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in different sectors and by local authorities in their administrative areas in order to reduce Ireland's vulnerability to the negative effects of climate change. Find out more about the review and Public Consultation on the current NAF here: Consultation on Review of the National Adaptation Framework - Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications - Citizen Space

Want to know more about adaptation and make use of an adaptation planning support tool? Visit Climate-ADAPT (europa.eu)