The UK Climate Change Act 2008 requires Northern Ireland Government Departments to prepare an Adaptation Programme which responds to the climate change risks and opportunities for Northern Ireland (NI) as identified in the most recent UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (UKCCRA). The Act required that the Adaptation Programme should be laid before the NI Assembly as soon as reasonably practicable after the laying before Parliament of the UKCCRA and be reviewed every five years.
Under the UK Climate Change Act 2008, The Climate Change Committee was established to advise the UK and Devolved Administration Governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The Northern Ireland Assembly passed it first ever Climate Change Legislation in March 2022. The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 received Royal Assent on 6 June 2022 and sets out the legal framework for tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come in Northern Ireland. This will help to reduce global warming. The Climate Change Act legally requires that all Northern Ireland Departments contribute to delivering its targets, carbon budgets and climate action plans. Strong collaboration is needed to achieve this.
For further information on the UK Climate Change Committee:
A copy of the UK Climate Change Act 2008 is available at:
The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 is available at:
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change
In 2015, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Paris Agreement, 197 countries including the UK committed to limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. The Agreement provides an enhanced transparency global framework for action on the causes of climate change (mitigation action). The Agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, through appropriate financial flows, new technology and enhanced capacity-building frameworks.
For further information on the Paris Agreement please see:
Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programme
As detailed in the legislation and policy section, under the UK Climate Change Act 2008 there is a legal requirement for Northern Ireland Departments to prepare an Adaptation Programme in response to the latest UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA).
Northern Ireland’s second Climate Change Adaptation Programme (NICCAP2) was published in September 2019 and it covers the period 2019-2024.
NICCAP2 contains the NICS Departments response to the risks and opportunities relevant to Northern Ireland as identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 ("CCRA 2017").
NICCAP2 focuses on key priority areas identified as requiring urgent adaptation action over the next five years.
It sets the policies, strategies, and delivery plan actions by which NICS Departments will deliver outcome objectives so to achieve the vision of ‘A resilient Northern Ireland which will take timely and well-informed decisions to address the socio-economic and environmental impacts of climate change’.
NICCAP2 contains a chapter which sits outside government, titled ‘Civil Society and Local Government Adapts’. The chapter is written by Climate NI, in conjunction with outside government stakeholders. It provides adaptation outcome objective delivery plans and actions that will be undertaken by Civil Society and Local Government sectors which will contribute to achieving NICCAP2’s vision.
Publication of CCRA 2017 in January 2017 delivered on the UK government’s statutory requirement under the Climate Change Act, in a five yearly cycle, to publish and lay before Parliament a UK-wide CCRA.
CCRA 2017 was informed by an independent ‘Evidence Report’ from the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Climate Change Committee, which was commissioned by the UK government and Devolved Administrations. The assessment is known as ‘UK Climate Change Risk Assessment - 2017 Evidence Report’. The report contained national summaries for each of the UK administrations including a summary with climate change risks specific to Northern Ireland.
DAERA published a Mid-programme Progress Review of NICCAP2 in December 2022 which provides a progress update against actions contained in the implementation plan as well as details of new actions. Separate to the ‘stock take’ type review DAERA also commissioned the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to carry out an independent assessment of NICCAP2. The Mid Programme Progress Review can be accessed at the following link:
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) published their independent assessment of NICCAP2 on the 20th April 2023. This assessment was requested by NI Departments and is the first to be carried out by the CCC on any NICCAP. An independent assessment of future NICCAP’s will be a legal requirement under the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022. The CCC’s independent assessment of NICCAP2 can be accessed at the following link:
You can also view information regarding climate change in Northern Ireland at the following links:
- UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Evidence Report – Summary for Northern Ireland
- UK Climate Risk
- Evidence for the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3) - Summary for Northern Ireland
Previous Northern Ireland Climate Change Adaptation Programmes now withdrawn:
Climate Northern Ireland
Climate Northern Ireland is an inter-sectoral network devoted to increasing understanding of climate change impacts and risks within Northern Ireland and promoting the adaptation actions necessary to address these.
Climate Northern Ireland is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to help fulfil its obligations to address climate change.
Further information about Climate Northern Ireland can be found at the following link. The website also contains a range of useful resources:
If you would like further information on climate change responsibilities in Northern Ireland, it can be requested by contacting: