To develop a conceptual framework and assess the regional variability of climate change adaptive capacity in the UK
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Vulnerability to climate change has been defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as being a function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Besides the first two components of vulnerability, adaptive capacity plays a critical role by affecting the successful implementation of adaptation options. This research emphasises the importance of building adaptive capacity, a relatively less researched upon area, and suggests a methodology to assess it, to be able to identify areas of intervention. This thesis presents 3 main ideas. Firstly, it is shown that it is the underlying causes of vulnerability which should be addressed while building adaptive capacity of a place suggesting that the indicators of adaptive capacity have a link with those that bring about sustainable development. Secondly, with the help of indicators and adaptive capacity index, it was shown that there is a considerable amount of variation at a sub-national level in England, which suggests that efforts to reduce vulnerability and to enhance adaptive capacity should be locally targeted and adaptive capacity should be measured to effectively introduce adaptation options. Lastly, by taking a ‘capitals’ approach, it was emphasised that to build the adaptive capacity, improvement in all the 5 capitals− Physical, Financial, Natural, Social and Human should be aimed without over or under-emphasising any one resource. This research concludes by highlighting relevance of this research and recommendations for future works.