UK's 'failure to prepare for global warming is risking catastrophe'

UK’s ‘failure to prepare for global warming is risking catastrophe’: Damning report claims Britain is not ready to deal with devastating consequences of climate change

  • Landslides, heatwaves and droughts are all predicted as temperatures increase
  • Food shortages and power cuts are also threats linked to global warming 
  • Climate Change Committee said UK planning for catastrophes was inadequate

The UK is not prepared for the devastating consequences of global warming, Government climate advisers warned in a damning report last night.

Flooding caused by rising seas, landslides, heatwaves, droughts and the destruction of rivers and lakes are all predicted as temperatures increase.

Food shortages and power cuts are also threats linked to global warming. The Climate Change Committee said UK planning for the impending catastrophes had been inadequate. 

Chief executive Chris Stark stressed: ‘We really want to get across the extent of climate risks we now face in the UK and the genuinely poor extent of planning we see for many of them. Our preparations are not keeping pace with the extent of the risks we face in this country.

‘That is a very concerning conclusion – particularly since we’ve been raising our concerns consistently with the Government for some time. They’ve found it far too easy to dismiss those concerns and we would like to see that change.’

Flooding caused by rising seas, landslides, heatwaves, droughts (stock image) and the destruction of rivers and lakes are all predicted as temperatures increase 

The 1,500-page report – produced by 450 scientists and other experts – found average UK temperatures had risen by 1.2C since the 19th century and another 0.5C is expected even with ambitious plans to curb greenhouse gases. 

The report said by 2050 a heatwave similar to that in 2018 will fall every other year on average.

Summers will be 10 per cent drier and winters 5 per cent wetter – while heavy rainfall could increase by 10 per cent and sea levels will be between 4in and 12in (10cm-30cm) higher than in 1981-2000. 

The experts suggested that the Government’s focus on reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 could be derailed as the plans do not take account of rising temperatures.

The committee said urgent protective measures are needed such as heatwave planning, improved water efficiency and the restoration of upland peat – vital for helping to stop or slow the spread of floodwaters.

The experts suggested that the Government’s focus on reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 could be derailed as the plans do not take account of rising temperatures (factory pictured)

It insisted that Government inaction since the committee’s last report five years ago had allowed 570,000 homes to be built which are not prepared for heatwaves. 

It also highlighted how there have been more than 4,000 heat-related deaths in England since 2018.

The committee’s latest study assessed 61 areas of risk in the UK from nature to infrastructure, health, cultural heritage, businesses and food production – and found more action was needed in over half. 

The report warned that without change, risks with annual costs totalling billions of pounds are set to triple by 2080.

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