Climate Finance Working Group

Project On-going
Date added: 26/07/2021

Funding and finance for adaptation in Scotland needs to increase, as does adaptation activity in Scotland’s financial sector. To deliver a step change in adaptation action in Scotland, meet the challenges of the global climate emergency and achieve the vision and outcomes set out in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, Adaptation Scotland is focusing on developing solutions to unlocking the finance needed.

Background: the need for adaptation finance

Climate change is causing severe, pervasive and potentially irreversible impacts for people, ecosystems and economies globally. In order to respond to and prepare for climate change impacts, there is a significant need for financial investment in both mitigation and adaptation interventions. There is, however, a very large gap between adaptation funding needs and available finance. The Adaptation Gap report (UNEP 2018[1]) reported that by 2030, the estimated costs of adaptation could be $150 billion to $200 billion per year, rising to $280 billion to $500 billion per year by 2050. In contrast, global public finance flows for adaptation were reported at US$30 billion/year in 2017/8 (Global Landscape on Climate Finance, CPI, 2019[2]).

In order to deal with the adaptation finance gap effectively, there is a requirement for both reducing the level and cost of adaptation, as well as increasing the level of finance. This indicates that as well as step -up in the mobilisation of resources, there is a need to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions. There is also a need to identify appropriate business models for climate adaptation finance that are suitable to local context and needs. To deliver a step change in adaptation finance in Scotland, meet the challenges of the global climate emergency and achieve the vision and outcomes set out in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, Adaptation Scotland is focusing on developing solutions to unlocking the finance needed.

Introduction to Adaptation Scotland’s Climate Finance Working Group

Working group aim and objective

The Climate Finance Expert Working Group works with local authorities, public bodies and the private sector to increase understanding of and access to adaptation finance and funding. The group’s objectives are to:

  • Enable stakeholder, policy and finance landscape development
  • Provide organisational and project support to identify and leverage adaptation funding
  • Support skills and knowledge development for stakeholders to be able to successfully fund and finance adaptation projects
  • Explore and propose how adaptation can be integrated into Scotland’s emerging economic recovery plans post COVID-19

Working group membership and ways of working

The climate finance expert working group is open to professionals who are leading, or closely involved with, implementing adaptation work within public sector organisations and businesses or are involved in financing and funding adaptation projects.

The working group includes representation from public and private sector organisations such as:

  • Abundance Investment
  • Atkins
  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • Green Action Trust
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • NatureScot
  • NHS Scotland
  • Paul Watkiss Associates
  • Scottish Canals
  • Scottish Government
  • SEPA
  • University of Edinburgh

Members are required to:

  • Attend bi-monthly working group meetings
  • Contribute to development of working group outputs
  • Support dissemination of knowledge and deliverables created


There are three main activities of the working group, which include:

1. Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building

The working group creates a space for those involved in adaptation and/or finance to provide updates on their own organisational activities and learn from others in the sector. External experts are also invited to provide presentations at the meetings. Previous speakers have included Cath Preston from SEPA discussing the £1 Billion Challenge, David Hay from Glasgow City Council providing insight into the financing of the award-winning North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System and Kit England from Glasgow City Region highlighting best practice examples of green new deal approaches across Europe.

2. Economic advisory services for three on the ground projects

Economic and financial advisory support services for on the ground adaptation projects is being offered by specialist climate change and economics consultancy Paul Watkiss Associates. This support identifies current barriers to finance, proposes appropriate business models to access finance and recommends additional actors and other potential sources of revenue to consider. After a competitive selection process, three projects were awarded support. These include:

  • Uist Community Climate Resilience Project (NatureScot)
  • Inch of Ferryton Managed Realignment (RSPB)
  • Newcastleton Flood Prevention Scheme (Scottish Borders Council)

3. Development of an Adaptation Finance Toolkit

The working group will produce a toolkit to support understanding of climate adaptation finance and funding. The overall aim of the toolkit is to provide information on barriers to and sources of adaptation finance (with examples) to better enable the matching up of finance to adaptation solution including blended finance approaches. The focus is at both the project and system levels, where possible. This is currently under development and will be published late 2021.

[1] UNEP (2018). Adaptation Gap Report. Published by United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi

[2] Climate Policy Initiative, 2019. Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2019 [Barbara Buchner, Alex Clark, Angela Falconer, Rob Macquarie, Chavi Meattle, Rowena Tolentino, Cooper Wetherbee]. Climate Policy Initiative, London. Available at: