Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Climate change: The UK's future


[Image stolen from @CAGOxfordshire]

England is currently facing its wettest winter since records began, which has caused widespread flooding which will last until May. The insurance industry is looking at over a billion pounds in damages, and the government is looking at hundreds of millions more in hardship grants (the UK doesn't have an EQC) and improved flood protection. Meanwhile, climate scientists are pointing out the obvious: its climate change, stupid:

We have long been exposed to risk from flooding, but climate change is loading the dice.

Rising sea levels now takes less of a storm surge for coastal flooding to occur than it did a few decades ago. Warmer air can hold more water, and across many parts of the world we have seen more heavy rain over the past few decades.

Most projections of future climate across the UK suggest that we will experience wetter conditions in winter but it is difficult to predict exactly how flood risk will change. What we do know is that relying on historical records is no longer enough, and will likely lead us to underestimate risk.

This should be a warning for all of us: our governments have pissed around for too long. And so instead of paying to reduce emissions, we're paying far more in flooding and human misery.