Climate change is happening now, with 14 of the 15 hottest years on record occurring since 2000, and the impacts of it are already being felt in the UK. This is according to the Committee on Climate Change's Adaptation Sub-Committee which has published a new report to show that urgent action is required to address climate-related risks.
The ‘UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report’, which the Business Continuity Institute contributed to, sets out the most urgent risks and opportunities arising as a result of climate change. Changes to the UK climate are likely to include periods of too much or too little water, increasing average and extreme temperatures, and sea level rise. The report concludes that the most urgent risks for the UK resulting from these changes are:
- Flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure.
- Risks to health, wellbeing and productivity from high temperatures
- Risk of shortages in the public water supply, and water for agriculture, energy generation and industry, with impacts on freshwater ecology.
- Risks to natural capital, including terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, soils and biodiversity.
- Risks to domestic and international food production and trade.
- Risks of new and emerging pests and diseases, and invasive non-native species, affecting people, plants and animals.
Climate change was not considered an immediate threat in the BCI's latest Horizon Scan Report, but it is perhaps one to look out for in the future, at least according to a third of respondents to a global survey. We have already seen an increase in the disruption to businesses caused by flooding, and this could very well get worse in the future.
Lord Krebs, Chairman of the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “The impacts of climate change are becoming ever clearer, both in the United Kingdom and around the world. We must take action now to prepare for the further, inevitable changes we can expect. Our independent assessment today, supported by the work of hundreds of scientists and other experts, identifies the most urgent climate change risks and opportunities which need to be addressed. Delaying or failing to take appropriate steps will increase the costs and risks for all UK nations arising from the changing climate.”