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How we're tackling climate change

Clear evidence how the erosion of the cliffs due to climate change threatens the archeological site of the hillfort at Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd
Cliff erosion due to climate change threatens the archeological site of the hillfort at Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

We're part of the global fight against climate change. It's the single biggest threat to the precious landscapes and historic houses we care for. We're adapting to changing weather patterns and working hard to address biodiversity loss and the damage caused by wild fires, heavy rain, increased humidity, high winds, droughts and shifting shores. Find out how we're healing climate harm and reducing carbon emissions.

National Trust meets renewable energy target

We’ve now reached our target to generate 50 per cent of our own energy from renewable sources, against a 2008 baseline. This follows an ambitious scheme set up in 2013 to grow our own energy supply and reduce our use of fossil fuels. From mountain hydros in the fast-flowing streams of the Lake District and Eryri (Snowdonia) to biomass boilers and heat pumps that help preserve rare objects, we've installed 138 renewable energy projects in nine years. In total, they generate 24 million kilowatt hours of energy each year — enough to power more than 8,400 homes. The second phase of the programme will further reduce fossil fuels at 100 of the highest emitting buildings we look after and is part of our efforts to reach net zero by 2030.

Threat of climate change

Wildlife, beaches, woodlands, archaeological sites, historic buildings, gardens and parklands are all under threat.

Rising temperatures are damaging some of the finest paintings in our care, while pests and diseases pose a greater threat to collections, trees and plants. Archaeological discoveries are also in danger of being lost. It is the single biggest threat to the precious landscapes and historic houses we care for.

Protecting heritage

We're having to make building alterations to cope with flooding and manage the effects of a changing coastline and rising sea levels.

Almost three quarters of the most important land in our care is vulnerable to climate change. Not only do these landscapes support wildlife, they also store carbon.

Addressing biodiversity loss

Biodiversity supports all life but it's in rapid decline. Plants, animals and ecosystems are at risk. We can only meet the challenge of climate change by helping nature to heal. This is why we’re creating and restoring wildlife habitats such as woodlands and peatlands.

By combining our existing knowledge about climate change and how it affects species distribution and habitats, we can better understand how to target our efforts to conserve nature and wildlife for the future – helping to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises together.

​We can’t find the solutions to climate change without also tackling the biodiversity crisis. They are both inextricably linked to each other and to the future of humanity.

A quote by Becky FalkinghamNational Trust Nature Evidence Data Officer

Mapping climate change

We've developed a hazard map that illustrates the threat climate change poses and highlights ways to tackle it.

Working to a worst-case scenario model, the map plots places alongside existing data on climate change-related events, such as flooding and coastal erosion.

It's the first map of its kind that collates and plots data in this way and will help the us and other organisations identify the hazard level facing countryside locations, monuments, coastlines and historical sites in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The map is drawn using a ‘worst-case scenario’ in which gas emissions continue their current trajectory unchecked with 5km hexgrids plotting the threat level from one to five.

Tackling the causes of climate change

We’re also tackling the causes of climate change by reducing emissions, caring for the land that captures and stores carbon and advocating Government to adopt policies that will help us all look after the places you love to visit. But the scale of the threat is breathtaking, and we can't do all of this without your help.

Our environmental pledges

  • We're planting and establishing 20 million trees by 2030
  • By 2030 we'll be carbon net-zero across our own emissions and those created by our supply chain, our tenanted land and buildings, and investments
  • By 2025 we'll have created and restored 25,000 hectares of new wildlife habitats
  • We'll create green corridors for people and nature near towns and cities
Kinder, Edale and the Dark Peak, Derbyshire

How we're tackling climate change together

Climate change is the biggest threat to the places in our care and in this video you can get a glimpse of the challenges we're facing together.

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Ranger removing debris from the hydro at Watendlath, Cumbria

Climate change and sustainability 

Together, we're securing our future with action on climate and the environment. Learn more about how we're responding to the changing climate at places in our care.

Two National Trust staff crouching down to inspect the harbour wall at Mullion Cove, Cornwall

How we're adapting to climate change 

Climate change is the greatest threat to the coastline, countryside and historic buildings in our care. Our new report, A Climate for Change: Adaptation and the National Trust, reveals how we’re tackling its causes and effects and identifying future hazards. From protecting and planting trees to nature-friendly farming, helping people, heritage and nature adapt to a changing climate is at the heart of everything we do.

Two sun-chairs stand on sun-parched brown lawn in front of green trees and the buildings of Anglesey Abbey

New research on the UK's preparedness for climate change 

As the Government releases its five-year National Adaptation Programme, we share new research that shows that the UK is 'lagging behind' in preparedness for climate change.

Gardener in the community allotments at Minnowburn, County Down

How you can help tackle climate change 

Play your part by learning how to reduce your carbon footprint and reducing plastic waste. Plus, find out how to join in with Great Big Green Week.

An area of restored peat bog on Armboth Fell, Lake District

Climate Action Appeal 

Climate change is the biggest threat to people and nature but with your support, the landscapes we care for can adapt to the challenges they face. Donate today to bring back wildlife, keep rivers flowing and protect woodlands and peatlands.