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Keywords:

  • climate change;
  • projections;
  • risk assessment;
  • stakeholders;
  • uncertainty

The 2008 Climate Change Act and ‘adaptation reporting power’ afforded to the UK Government have generated demand for information on future climate risks. The UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) are the latest generation of national climate change scenarios. This Commentary reflects on the enduring scientific and political contribution of UKCP09 as evidenced by academic literature, adaptation reports and media perspectives. It is contested that the more explicit treatment of uncertainty by the UKCP09 projections compared with the predecessor (UKCIP02) was a significant step forward. User unfamiliarity with the probabilistic format can be managed through support and guidance, so the complexity of UKCP09 need not be limiting. Some may question the value added by climate modelling (and downscaling) to adaptation planning given present fiscal retrenchment. However, the benefit of UKCP09 could be greater than expected, especially if new ways of responding to climate uncertainty emerge.