UK ‘struggling to keep pace’ with climate change impacts
Action to improve the nation’s resilience to climate change is failing to keep pace with the impacts of a warming planet and the increasing risks facing the UK.
That’s the conclusion of new analysis on climate risk, led by the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which says the Government has to date not heeded its advice on the importance of an action plan in this area.
The Government’s eco advisors warn that the UK is experiencing widespread changes in the climate; average land temperature has risen by around 1.2°C from pre-industrial levels, UK sea levels have risen by 16cm since 1900 and episodes of extreme heat are becoming more frequent.
The CCC adds that people, nature and infrastructure are already vulnerable to a range of climate impacts today and these will only increase in the coming years as the climate continues to change. The longer action to address these risks is delayed, the higher the costs that the Government and the UK public will face.
The CCC also says that leadership from the UK government and governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland must result in increasing efforts to adapt to climate change to ensure that societal, economic, and environmental goals remain achievable in the face of climate change.
Baroness Brown, chair of the Adaptation Committee, said: “The severity of the risks we face must not be underestimated. These risks will not disappear as the world moves to Net Zero; many of them are already locked in. By better understanding and preparing for the coming changes, the UK can prosper, protecting its people, its economy, and its natural environment. A detailed, effective action plan that prepares the UK for climate change is now essential and needed urgently.”
The 1,500-page report sets out climate risks and opportunities – of which nearly 60% have been given the highest urgency score. It also identifies eight priority risk areas which need immediate attention, at the latest in the next two years, including risks to people, human health and food supply.
The report also says there are multiple risks to the UK from climate change impacts overseas.
The CCC added: “The Government has an important role. It must deliver a much better action plan to support good adaptation planning across the UK and integrate this into all relevant Government plans and policies. The Government has to date not heeded the CCC’s advice on the importance of this plan or on funding it adequately. This needs to change.”
To access the CCC’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk, click here.