Going Green: Pledge to protect lives and wellbeing in UK

We have to adapt to changes and become more resilient to weather. Photo: AdobeWe have to adapt to changes and become more resilient to weather. Photo: Adobe
We have to adapt to changes and become more resilient to weather. Photo: Adobe
In July, the Government released their Climate National Adaption Plan. It’s a program to explain how the government will protect infrastructure, people, and food production in a warming world of extreme weather events.

It should also detail how this country will react to the ongoing ways in which climate change is affecting all aspects of life in the UK from farming to business and everything in between.

But having read the report it doesn’t go nearly far enough in measures this country so desperately needs to tackle the impacts of climate change. Prof Dame Julia King Chair of the Adaptation Committee of the CCC (Climate Change Committee), said “The scale of the climate impacts we are seeing make clear that resilience to climate change should be a much greater national priority.”

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One of the ideas of the plan is to do research on how homes and workplaces overheat. We know excessive exposure to heat endangers human life, just look at the 61,672 people who died from heat related conditions in Europe between May and September in 2022. In particular the elderly, disabled, pregnant women and very young are vulnerable when the mercury rises.

The plan pledges to protect lives and wellbeing across the UK by building on the National Alert system that was trialled in April, but it doesn’t tell us what that will look like or when it will be rolled out.

It says it will establish a “Climate Resilience Board” to oversee adaption and resilience and help us prepare for heatwaves, flooding and drought but again there’s no bricks and mortar plan on how that’s going to happen or what it will look like or when it will happen or who will be on the board.

In essence the Adaption Plan suggests the government know they need to act but as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail and that’s what this report is lacking. We know climate change is devastatingly bad news for our country and our world already.

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We only need to look at recent wildfires and heatwaves in mainland Europe to see how bad things are but unfortunately the impacts are going to get worse.

The burning of fossil fuels is directly responsible for global warming and extreme weather we’re seeing and yet global emissions of greenhouse gases are still going up. There’s talk of these extreme summers being a “new normal” but they’re not, they’re the beginning of something but we have no idea what the end looks like. Until global emissions stop, we know things are only going to get worse.

China’s Xinjiang region recorded a temperature of 52.2 degrees Celsius in June,. The government needs to flesh out their adaption plan with concrete ways we can safeguard our shores against the inevitable to protect lives and livelihoods going forward. This is increasingly essential as recently, Professor Sir Bob Watson former head of the UN climate body, said of a global commitment to limit warming to ‘safe’ levels “I think 1.5 Celsius is probably out of reach even if we accelerate quickly now. In fact he said, " I'm very pessimistic about achieving even 2C". What this means is that impacts will be greater than first feared so we have to adapt to changes and become more resilient to weather the stormy weather ahead at work, at home and in our communities.

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