Long Shot of Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
1. Using a holistic and informed approach
The response to climate change impacts in Edinburgh must be a holistic and informed approach based on a thorough understanding of the site and its communities.
2. Raising local awareness
Local capacity building, where people are empowered to assist in the response, is also important. This involves informing locals about the effects of climate change on their local heritage and working with them to address how these sites can be best adapted to face increasing environmental challenges.
Greyfriars kirkyard cemetery (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
3. Developing solutions through technical research
Further technical research is important for developing solutions that are suitable for particular buildings or sites.
Panorama of the City of Edinburgh (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
4. Setting ambitious goals
Scotland has one of the most ambitious climate change mitigation goals globally. The Climate Change Act 2009 set a goal of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for Scotland by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. A 47% reduction has already been achieved, and in 2019 new targets were set of 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040; and net zero by 2045. This plan includes a 15% reduction in domestic heat demand and a 20% reduction in non-domestic heat demand through the improvement of building fabrics.
Lake in Edinburgh (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
5. Creating sustainable new measures
Part of ensuring that new measures to combat climate change are sustainable is integrating them into community and organizational goals and practices. Adaptation Scotland supports Scotland’s public sector to recognize the impacts of climate change on communities and identify ways to address them through organizational practice.
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
6. Providing guidelines for historic buildings
Adaptation Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, in collaboration with 20 other organisations, including The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh World Heritage, developed the Edinburgh Adapts Action Plan which specifies concrete goals for dealing with climate change and making the city more resilient. One of the actions is to provide guidelines for owners of historic buildings, and for businesses located in historic buildings, to better prepare their buildings for climate change.
Scottish Castle in Ruins (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
7. Making buildings more resilient to climate change
Maintenance will become a much more important tool in adapting to climate change and its effects on our built environment. Using maintenance as a tool for making buildings more resilient to climate change is a simple step and one which anyone should be able to carry out under the right guidance.
The Historic Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
8. Using mapping software to protect heritage sites
Historic Environment Scotland set out to identify key risks to their sites and which sites are in particular danger. In collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the British Geological Survey, all their properties were mapped using Geographical Information Systems (a mapping software tool which allows users to visualise site conditions).
Clouds above Edinburgh (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk
While these solutions appear to be small changes, they are necessary steps to making historic buildings more resilient to climate change, preserving the rich cultural heritage and national importance of Edinburgh.
Peter A Cox, ICOMOS, Managing Director, Carrig Conservation International Limited, and President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change.