ENVIRONMENT ministers and officials meet in Copenhagen this week to try and agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
The United Nations Climate Change conference (December 7-18) is the latest in an annual series of UN meetings that began with the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, aimed at coordinating international action against climate change.
As part of the countdown to Copenhagen the UK government has this year released UK Climate Projections 09 which give an insight into changes that might happen to our climate over the years to come.
In our region, Government Office for the North East, in conjunction with Defra, and the UK Climate Impact Programme (UKCIP) and a range of local partners, recently held a week of events to help organisations and businesses understand the implications of climate change and help them plan for the future.
The Projections in Practice seminars, workshops and training sessions in Newcastle and Middlesbrough showcased the cutting edge science which allows us to find out what the climate will be like in our area over the next few decades.
Understanding climate change is vital to business continuity. The Projections in Practice events were designed to help organisations assess how their business might be affected by climate related issues such as flooding, storms or extreme temperature changes.
It means they can go back and look at their business continuity plans to plan for a successful future, including taking advantage of some of the business opportunities that a changing climate may bring.
The Government has set ambitious targets around tackling climate change and in Government Office for the North East we are incorporating this challenge into all areas of our work from housing, planning and transport, to communities, and with children and young people. We also play an active part, along with a range of regional organisations, in ClimateNE, the regional Climate Change Partnership which is working to promote climate change adaptation and reduce the region's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
Jonathan Blackie is regional director, Government Office for the North East