UK government publishes third climate change risk assessment

18th January 2022


The UK government published its third climate change risk assessment yesterday, which highlights the multiple threats that higher temperatures pose to society and the economy.

The five-year assessment, delivered under the Climate Change Act 2008, is based on evidence and advice published by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) last year.

Risks to soil health from increased flooding and drought, and risks to crops, livestock and commercial trees from multiple climate hazards, are among eight individual threats identified which require urgent attention.

These risks could see economic damages exceed £1bn per year each by 2050 with a temperature rise of 2°C, with the cost of climate change to the UK rising to at least 1% of GDP by 2045.

“Yesterday’s report from the CCC, serves as another stark reminder of the risks that climate change poses to all life on earth,” said Ben Goodwin, IEMA's Head of Policy.

“Whether it be the increased likelihood of severe weather events that cause catastrophic flooding and drought, through to question marks over food security and human health, the risks of climate change are well known.

“Whilst on the one hand it is critical that we step up to mitigating the impacts of climate change, it is, on the other, equally as important that we invest resources into adapting our behaviours to manage the risks.

“Climate adaptation is an area that many IEMA members are directly involved in and an area that the Institute has identified where there is a need for the development of much more practical guidance to help organisations operating in different sectors of the economy to take effective action.

“We will be developing and publishing such guidance throughout the course of 2022.”

The eight priority risks identified in the report which require urgent action include:

  • Risks to the viability and diversity of terrestrial and freshwater habitats and species from multiple hazards
  • Risks to soil health from increased flooding and drought
  • Risks to natural carbon stores and sequestration from multiple hazards, leading to increased emissions
  • Risks to crops, livestock and commercial trees from multiple climate hazards
  • Risks to supply of food, goods and vital services due to climate related collapse of supply chains and distribution networks
  • Risks to people and the economy from climate-related failure of the power system
  • Risks to human health, well-being and productivity from increased exposure to heat in homes and other buildings
  • Multiple risks to the UK from climate change impacts overseas.

The government said that it will now conduct further internal work to develop new and existing policies to tackle the risks, and engage with external stakeholders to further develop objectives.

Climate adaptation minister Jo Churchill said: “The scale and severity of the challenge posed by climate change means we cannot tackle it overnight, and although we’ve made good progress in recent years there is clearly much more that we need to do.

“By recognising the further progress that needs to be made, we’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts and setting a path towards the third National Adaptation Programme, which will set ambitious and robust policies to make sure we are resilient to climate change into the future.”

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Transform. I hope that you’ve had a good and productive few months so far.

28th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close