A new report by the Uk government’s climate change advisers has said that England is not yet prepared for global warming.
Among other things, the report by the Committee on Climate Change reviews the government’s adaptation plans – preparations to cope with the effects of global warming. The committee, also known as the CCC, is an independent group of experts set up to provide the government with advice on the climate crisis.
The report found that the government is failing to achieve any of its targets and said without a “step change” in policy there is an increased risk to life. The government has said it would take the recommendations into account.
Baroness Brown, chairwoman of the CCC’s sub-committee on adaptation, said that the government wasn’t taking the issue seriously enough.
“The government’s lack of urgency on climate resilience is in sharp contrast to the recent experience of this country,” she was quoted as saying.
Reports show that over the last couple of years, England has faced a series of extreme weather events, likely made worse by climate change. For instance, last year was the warmest on record for the UK – temperatures broke 40C for the first time and more than 25,000 wildfires broke out.
Apart from extreme heat, rainfall has been consistently low for parts of south and southeast England, affecting crop yields.
Andrew Blenkiron’s 6,000-acre (24 sq km) farm in Thetford, Norfolk saw just 2.4mm of rain in February compared to the local average for that month of 43mm. He has now been forced to cut back on plans to plant potatoes, onions, parsnips and carrots by around a fifth.
To cope with the impacts of extreme heat, Blenkiron said that he has enlarged reservoirs on his farm and shifted harvesting patterns to prevent wildfires. He however noted that farmers needed more money from the government to implement their climate plans, especially if they were involved in new infrastructure projects like reservoirs.
A UK government spokesperson said, “We have taken decisive action to improve the UK’s climate change resilience – including investing a record £5.2bn into flood defences.” The spokesperson said that the government would factor in the committee’s recommendations to the new National Adaptation Plan, which is expected to be published this summer.
The committee said the government needed to consider the resilience of farming systems in other countries.
According to available data, nearly half of all the food the UK consumes is imported and this makes all of the UK’s food supply vulnerable to global weather patterns. Already this year supermarkets have placed limits on fruit and vegetable sales after bad weather in North Africa affected supply.
The committee has recommended the government require all large food sector companies by law to assess the climate risks to their supply chains.
Story was adapted from BBC.