Adapting to climate change

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Some degree of climate change is inevitable because of past and present carbon emissions. Even with strong international action to curb emissions, global temperatures still have a fifty percent chance of rising above 2 °C by the end of the century.

In England temperatures are, on average, between 0.5-1 °C higher than they were in the 1970s. Sea levels have risen by an average of 3 mm each year in recent decades, and could increase by 12-76 cm by the end of the century (compared to 1990 levels). See UKCP09 Key findings for future projections.

Extreme weather events already cause damage and disruption. Around two thousand people across the UK died as a result of the 2003 heatwave.  Insured losses from flooding and severe weather events have cost an average £1.5 billion per year over the past twenty years.  In 2007 widespread flooding affected 55,000 homes, killed 13 people and cost the economy £3.2 billion.  Events such as these are likely to become more frequent and severe as the climate changes. Preparing for climate change today in many instances will reduce the impact of future costs and damages, and enable organisations and individuals to take advantage of potential opportunities

What can be done to adapt

Flood defence

Organisations can take a variety of measures to alleviate effects of climate change now and provide future protection.

How the UK is preparing

extreme weather

The Adaptation Sub Committee is monitoring how well the UK is prepared for   climate change and its effects.

UK Adaptation Policy

House of Commons

The Government has a role in assessing the risks and opportunities from climate change and ensuring the country has the capacity to adapt.

Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017

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Every five years the UK Government must carry out an assessment of the current and future risks to the country from climate change. Defra published the first Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) in J…