Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd is calling on businesses and communities to prepare as latest UK climate change projections are published.
Writing in the Environment Agency’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation report, the Chair of the Environment Agency says worryingly few FTSE boards are disclosing the strategic risks to their shareholders brought by the physical impacts of climate change.
Emma Howard Boyd says boards cannot continue to see extreme weather events, like floods and heatwaves, as purely operational and need to put aside capital expenditure for resilience measures to ensure business continuity. She is also calling on insurers to rise to the challenge by rewarding individuals who put in place property level flood protection when calculating insurance premiums.
The UKCP18 projections, published today (Monday 26 November) and developed in partnership with the Environment Agency, show summer temperatures could be up to 5.4C hotter by 2070 depending on global emissions of greenhouse gases over the coming decades. Sea levels in London could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100.
The Environment Agency’s Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation report, also published today, highlights:
- Severe heatwaves becoming a regular event in the future. At the end of the century, over half of the UK may experience heatwave conditions every year
- As demand for water increases with the rising temperature, action will be needed to reduce water abstraction, leakage, and increase preparedness for drought. Climate change will reduce river flows, threatening aquatic ecosystems with a reduction in fish species
- Buildings and infrastructure will need to be more resilient to flooding. Some coastal communities are likely to be unviable
- More protected conservation areas will be needed to assist wildlife in migrating north as the climate changes. Action may be needed to relocate climate-sensitive species and control non-native species.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency said:
The UK18 projections are further evidence that we will see more extreme weather in the future – we need to prepare and adapt now, climate change impacts are already being felt with the record books being re-written.
It is not too late to act. Working together – governments, business, and communities – we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and successfully adapt to a different future.
The Environment Agency cannot wall up the country, but we will be at the forefront – protecting communities, building resilience, and responding to incidents.
The UK Climate Projections 2018 illustrate a range of future climate scenarios until 2100 – showing increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels are all on the horizon.
The Environment Agency is already taking action to manage the effects of the changing climate: operations teams successfully responded to a 330% increase in environmental incidents during the hot, dry summer; our six year flood investment programme is progressing to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding; and our flood forecasting and warning capability is world-leading
The UK’s Climate Projections 2018 will help the Environment Agency prepare for the future. The Environment Agency is, through the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan, mitigating the increasing risk of tidal flooding in London and working with partners to look at alternative options for the future.
The launch of the UK Climate Change projections and publication of the Climate Change Impacts Report comes just days before the launch of the Environment Agency’s annual Flood Action campaign, urging the public to check their flood risk and plan the right action to take in order to protect themselves in a flood.