From the TUC

New climate data: hot and stormy weather ahead

19 Jun 2009, by in Environment, Working Life

Yesterday the government launched the UK Climate Projections, a major set of new scientific data that sets out how the UK’s climate is likely to change over the coming years. The headline messages of the projections are stark, showing a future of heatwaves, floods and storms.  They add yet more urgency to the need for governments to agree a bold deal to tackle future emissions when they meet in Copenhagen later this year.  But they also show that a certain amount of climate change is already beginning to happen because of past emissions.  

The data is fantastically detailed, including maps down to the local level, showing how the climate is likely to change in every area, and according to different predictions of how carbon emissions change in future. For the UK this means:

  • All areas of the country will get warmer, with greater warming in summer than in winter.
  • There will be little change in the amount of precipitation (rain, hail, snow etc) that falls annually, but it is likely that more of it will fall in the winter, with drier summers, for much of the UK.
  • Sea levels will rise, and by more in the south of the UK than the north.

Rising temperatures, the risk of floods, disruption to travel plans – all of these changes will impact on workers’ jobs and workplaces. In April, the TUC published Changing Work in a Changing Climate which warned that although climate change is beginning to force companies (some very slowly) to think about adapting their products and services to a changing climate, few had considered what such a dramatic change in the UK’s weather would mean for their staff and the jobs they do.  The projections make it all too clear that we need to start adapting, and fast.