Every five years the UK’s Climate Change Act requires the Government to compile an assessment of the risks and opportunities arising for the UK from climate change. Today, the Government has published its second such assessment.
The Government’s Climate Change Risk Assessment draws primarily on the Adaptation Sub-Committee’s (ASC) independent evidence report which was published last July. The ASC’s report identified six key risks and urgent priorities for action over the next five years.
In response to today’s report, Lord Krebs, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Sub-Committee said:
“We welcome the Government’s UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. The report accepts the Adaptation Sub-Committee’s assessment of risks and opportunities and puts on record those that the committee considers most urgent for further action.
“Climate change is happening now. The 10 hottest years on record, in terms of global average temperature, have occurred in the last two decades. The consequent risks for the UK, such as more extreme flooding and storms, are real and in some cases already apparent.
“We now look forward to Defra’s 25-year environment plan, followed by the next National Adaptation Programme in 2018, where the Government will set out how it intends to deal with these risks, whilst taking advantage of the opportunities.”
• The Climate Change Act established the Committee on Climate Change as an independent statutory body to advise the UK and Devolved Governments on setting and meeting carbon budgets and preparing for climate change. It also established the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change specifically to provide advice on climate change risks and opportunities and to report regularly on UK progress on adaptation.
• The ASC’s Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) evidence report is available here.
• The evidence report identified six key risks, including flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure; risks to health, well-being and productivity from high temperatures; risks of shortages in the public water supply (including for agriculture, energy generation and industry); risks to natural capital including terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, soils and biodiversity; risks to domestic and international food production and trade; and new and emerging pests and diseases and invasive non-native species affecting people, plants and animals.
• According to the Met Office’s HadCRUT4 dataset, which begins in 1850, the ten warmest years for global average surface temperatures have occurred since 1997. Source: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2016/2016-likely-to-break-global-temperature-record