Government says its climate change curbs inadequate

Government says its climate change curbs inadequate
Flooding in Mytholmroyd after River Calder burst its banks in 2020Image source,

The government has admitted that its efforts to insulate the UK from climate change impacts have been inadequate.

It says coping with even a relatively low level of climate change could cost Britain many billions of pounds a year.

Ministers say they'll have to go much further and faster to curb the worst impacts of global heating.

That will mean building climate change into all decisions that have long-term effects, such as in new housing or infrastructure.

The aim should be to avoid costly remedial actions in the future.

The government has also accepted that it must consider low-probability but high-impact events arising from a heating climate.

The report is a response to an analysis of the UK’s vulnerability to climate change by the official advisors, the Climate Change Committee.

It earmarks 61 climate risks cutting across multiple sectors of society.

Health and productivity could be affected, it says, with impacts on many households, businesses and public services.

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 advisors say is possible - this increases to 44% and 75% respectively.

The government says it’s already investing to adapt to climate change.

It mentions:

The government admits it needs to do much more.

But critics say efforts so far have been diluted by inadequate finance from the Treasury for long-term schemes. Indeed the chancellor didn’t mention climate change once in his Budget.

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

“We’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts.”

Energy Minister Greg Hands said: “This report makes clear the risks of failing to act on climate change, and the UK’s world-leading approach to net zero must include action on adaptation to ensure we are resilient to climate change in the future.

“This includes building on our strong progress to deliver a reliable, homegrown renewable energy sector, provide highly skilled jobs, and secure investment as we build a cleaner future.”

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

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