Urgent action needed to address climate change risks

12th July 2016


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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Energy

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IEMA

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the UK and urgent action is required to prepare for the inevitable consequences, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns in a new report.

Changes to the UK climate are likely to include periods of too much or too little water, increasing average and extreme temperatures, and sea level rise, says the latest assessment report, published today by the CCC’s adaptation sub-committee. It highlights six immediate priority areas: flooding and coastal change; the impact of high temperatures in the built environment; risks to natural capital; future water shortages; impacts on the global food system; and new and emerging pests and diseases.

Lord Krebs, chair of the s ub-committee, said: ‘The impacts of climate change are becoming ever clearer, both in the UK and around the world. We must take action now to prepare for the further, inevitable changes we can expect.’

The report, which involved hundreds of leading scientists and international specialists, and took three years to complete, says heatwaves, similar to those experienced in 2003, are expected to become the norm in summer by the 2040s with the number of premature heat-related deaths expected to more than triple by the 2050s. The impacts of flooding and coastal change in the UK, which are already significant, are expected to increase, while more extreme weather is likely to affect global food production and prices.

In addition to potential risks, the report also identifies possible benefits from climate change. These include economic opportunities from an increase in global demand for adaptation-related goods and services, such as engineering and insurance.

However, the over-riding message in the report is for immediate government action on adaptation. ‘Delaying or failing to take appropriate steps will increase the costs and risks for all UK nations arising from the changing climate,” said Krebs.

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