Report highlights urgent climate change risks for the UK

July 12, 2016, University of Leeds
Report highlights urgent climate change risks for the UK
Credit: University of Leeds

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in the UK and urgent action is needed, concludes a report published today.

In an independent to Government, 'UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report', the Committee on Climate Change's Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) sets out the most urgent risks and opportunities arising for the UK from climate change.

The report is the result of more than three years of work involving hundreds of leading scientists – including researchers from the University of Leeds – and experts from the public and private sectors.

Professor Andy Challinor from the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds wrote one of the chapters of the report.

He said: "Food production shocks triggered by droughts and heatwaves emerged as an important risk. Shocks from around the globe can influence the UK through food price spikes.

"On the plus side, however, we found that it's possible to make choices about what we eat that benefit both our health and the health of the planet."

Changes to the UK climate are likely to include periods of too much or too little water, increasing average and extreme temperatures, and rising sea levels. The report concludes that the most urgent risks for the UK resulting from these changes are:

  • Flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure
  • Risks to health, wellbeing and productivity from high temperatures
  • Risk of shortages in the public water supply, and water for agriculture, energy generation and industry, with impacts on freshwater ecology
  • Risks to terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, soils and biodiversity
  • Risks to domestic and international food production and trade
  • Risks of new and emerging pests and diseases, and invasive non-native species, affecting people, plants and animals

Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, who was not involved in the study, said: "The UK gets off lighter than many countries but this important report confirms that we are already seeing damage to homes, businesses and livelihoods.

"There are a few opportunities hidden in the mix but the future is clearly one of increased risk that we need to prepare for now."

The opportunities for the UK from climate change include:

  • UK agriculture and forestry may be able to increase production with warmer weather and longer growing seasons, if constraints such as water availability and soil fertility are managed
  • There may be economic opportunities for UK businesses from an increase in global demand for adaptation-related goods and services, such as engineering and insurance

The impact of the recent vote to leave the European Union does not change the overall conclusions of the . However, some individual risks may change if EU-derived policies and legislation are withdrawn and not replaced by equivalent or better UK measures. The ASC will assess the implications of the EU referendum in its next statutory report to Parliament on the UK National Adaptation Programme, due to be published in June 2017.

Professor Challinor concluded: "A fragmented world is more at risk. Dealing with these risks requires cross-government and international coordination and this will be more difficult to achieve under Brexit."

Further information

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is the independent statutory body established under the Climate Change Act (2008) to advise the UK Government on setting carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Change Act also established the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the CCC to provide advice to the UK and devolved governments on climate change risks and opportunities, and to report to the UK Parliament on progress being made by the National Adaptation Programme.

The Climate Change Act requires the UK Government to compile every five years its assessment of the risks and opportunities arising for the UK from , known as the Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA). The ASC's Evidence Report published today will inform the Government's second Climate Change Risk Assessment due to be presented to Parliament in January 2017. The first CCRA was presented to Parliament by Government in 2012. 

Explore further: Crop breeding is not keeping pace with climate change

More information: The Synthesis Report 'UK Climate Change Risk Assessment: priorities for the next five years', together with the chapters of the full Evidence Report, is published on the CCC website: www.theccc.org.uk/2016/07/12/n … -change-risks-to-uk/

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mememine69
1 / 5 (4) Jul 12, 2016
The children we we eagerly march into the greenhouse gas ovens are asking;

If science doesn't need to say their CO2 end of days is as real as they say smoking causes cancer then what else is stopping another 35 MORE years of climate action delay, debate and global disbelief? They say it's real that the planet isn't flat but only 99% sure CO2 "could" flatten it?

Will they say it before it's too late to say it?
antigoracle
1 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2016
The only shock to food and food prices, attributable to climate change, is the AGW Cult's use of food crops to produce "green" fuel. But, why stop there, if they can fabricate more lies to propagate their desperate desire for doom and gloom, then they might just force its realization.
howhot3
5 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2016
Well @antigoracle, "green fuel" is carbon neutral and doesn't add to global CO2 levels like extracting fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) does. So if you have the spare crop land for "green fuel", why not use it?

howhot3
5 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2016
Also @antigoracle and the rest of the denier goon squad may not see it, but I predict in the future all fossil fuels for transportation systems will be replaced be electric or "green fuels" (Jets and plains mainly). Even the largest cargo ships might become solar hybrid. The question I have, is are we going to run out of time before global warming destroys all capability for the planet to produce crops? Chew on that thought for a few moments.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2016
Instead of spewing your ignorance on the forum, perhaps you should take a gander at what became of the AGW Cult's plans to produce fuels from food crops.
Chew on that thought for a few moments.
howhot3
5 / 5 (5) Jul 12, 2016
Instead of spewing your ignorance on the forum, perhaps you should take a gander at what became of the AGW Cult's plans to produce fuels from food crops.
Chew on that thought for a few moments.

Well excuse me. Maybe you need to quit spewing your misinformation on the forum mr antigoracle pea-brain. Chew on that huge hunk for a sec. The fact that we can extract fuel oils from vegetation of all types, switch grass, green algae, etc only means you don't know crap about the subject. Sure you can be a bozo moron and call mankind's current reality a cult, but you would be and are completely wrong... infact, you would be kind of stupid to ignore AGW.

leetennant
5 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2016
The children we we eagerly march into the greenhouse gas ovens are asking;

If science doesn't need to say their CO2 end of days is as real as they say smoking causes cancer then what else is stopping another 35 MORE years of climate action delay, debate and global disbelief? They say it's real that the planet isn't flat but only 99% sure CO2 "could" flatten it?

Will they say it before it's too late to say it?


Keep posting this. It makes less sense every time and I feel like it's a psychedelic window into a phenomenological study of modern 20st century anti-intellectualism. Or something. Either way, I'm speechless every time I read it, which for me is quite a feat.

One day maybe you'll explain what the hell it even means but on that day I feel like some of the wonder and mystery will be taken out of the world.

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