Anyone listening to the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning would have heard Professor Lord Krebs, chair of the adaptation sub-committee at the Committee on Climate Change, give his précis of the report published today, which warns that climate change is likely to cause a domino effect of risks to the UK’s environmental and structural infrastructure, if pre-emptive actions are not taken.
Transport, housing and electricity infrastructures are all threatened by the inevitable increase in floods, heatwaves and food shortages, which the UK face.
Lord Krebs was commenting on a 2,000 page report, published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today (Tuesday 12 July) which warns that the UK is poorly prepared for the effects of climate change.
The report is a comprehensive assessment of the dangers of climate change to the UK, produced over three years by 80 experts.
UK law requires the government to use the CCC report to develop its adaptation plan, although it is worth noting that spending in this area has been halved.
Flooding already causes £1bn of damage every year on average, and the risks are predicted to increase as climate change leads to more intense rainfall, bringing floods to places not currently in danger. The number of households at significant risk of flooding will more than double to 1.9m by 2050, if the global temperature rises by 4C.
Soil erosion in East Anglia (the richest soils in the UK) has already accounted for a loss of 85% of the rich peat topsoils, due to drainage and erosion.
“We have lost a lot of the natural asset that allows us to grow cereals and climate change will accelerate the rate of loss. We could lose the remaining fertile soil within the next 30-60 years and that would be a huge negative impact on the food production capacity of the UK.” commented Lord Krebs.
The report offers guidance and a warning for the UK government to put climate change issues at the top of the agenda, we wait to see whether Mrs May will respond.