The government has admitted that its efforts to insulate the UK from climate change impacts have been inadequate following a report published yesterday by its official advisers, the Climate Change Committee, see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047003/climate-change-risk-assessment-2022.pdf .
The costs of climate change to Britain are “high and increasing”, the report says, and could reach many billions of pounds a year. It means climate change must be built into all long-term decisions, such as new housing or infrastructure. The aim should be to avoid costly remedial actions in the future.
It also points out that: “…The extent of climate change will depend on our success in controlling global emissions over the coming decades. The average surface temperature in the UK has risen by 1.2°C since pre-industrial times, and further warming is predicted under all decarbonisation pathways set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change1. While we aim to limit warming to 1.5°C, the evidence shows that we must be prepared for warming up to 4°C….”
Ministers admit they’ll have to go much further and faster to curb the worst impacts although they say that the government is already investing to adapt to climate change. They also accepted that it must consider low-probability but high-impact events arising from a heating climate.
The report warns of worsening soil health and farm productivity, reduced water availability, and impacts on alternative energy supply. For example, it notes, unless the UK takes further action, the cost of flood-related damages for non-residential properties is expected to increase by 27% by 2050 and 40% by 2080. That’s with a temperature rise of just 2C – and even that relatively low figure is looking very hard to achieve.
If temperature rises to 4C – which the government’s science advisers say is possible – this increases to 44% and 75% respectively.
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion since the 2010 Caroline Lucas MP is reported by the BBC as saying that: “It’s crystal clear that we are moving nothing like fast enough to net zero emissions and the longer we delay, the more it will cost. The government acknowledges the risks. We have yet to see the action plan that will deal with them.”
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