From the TUC

Mr Cameron suspects ….

09 Jan 2014, by in Environment


The Prime Minister told MPs yesterday that there were more “abnormal” weather events occurring and he “very much suspected” they were linked to global temperature changes. Yet over the past decade the government has received an abundance of unequivocal official advice:  

2004: “Rising sea levels and increasingly severe and frequent rainstorms caused by climate change mean that the risk of flooding will increase.” Flooding in England: A National Assessment of Flood Risk, Environment Agency, 2004. (This report has 20 references to climate change)

2008: The Climate Change Act (2008) requires a UK-wide climate change risk assessment every five years accompanied by a national adaptation programme that is also reviewed every five years. The Act has given the Government new powers to require public bodies and statutory organisations such as water companies to report on how they are adapting to climate change.

2011: “Rainfall extremes are generally projected to increase, particularly during winter, with changes during summer are more uncertain. Several European-scale and national-scale assessments suggest an increase in flood risk with climate change in the UK.” Climate: Observations, projections and impacts, Met Office 2011.

2012: “Severe weather, major coastal and inland flooding are recognised in the National Risk Assessment as significant risks to the UK, alongside those related to human health (such as pandemic diseases) and terrorist and cyber attacks.”

  • “Recent weather events have highlighted the vulnerability of some sectors and vulnerable groups to climate risks, including:
  • The UK is already vulnerable to extreme weather including severe winters, heatwaves, flooding from rivers and the sea and storms and gales. Insured losses from extreme events in the UK cost an average of £1.5 billion per annum and the costs associated with flooding in summer 2007 were estimated as greater than £3 billion in England alone. Other potential risks, such as heatwaves, water scarcity and disruption of ecosystems are becoming increasingly important. Continued action is needed to manage these risks even without additional pressures due to climate change.”
  • “Flood risks will continue to be very significant and are projected to increase over time; the risk metrics shown at the top of the list of threats highlight continued issues related to flood damage, insurance and the health of flood victims.”

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012, Evidence Report, January 2012. The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) presents the latest evidence on the risks and opportunities of climate change for the UK to 2100. For the first time, it provides a national overview of potential risks based primarily on the UK Climate Projections, published by Defra in 2009. The CCRA provides the first of these assessments and was laid before parliament in January 2012.

2014:  “The Department’s priorities until Mr Paterson’s arrival, half-way through the period under review, were to … support a strong and sustainable green economy, including thriving rural communities, resilient to climate change.” House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Departmental Annual Report 2012–13.

Future: The risks of flooding are projected to increase significantly across the UK:

“The expected annual damage to properties caused by flooding from rivers and the sea is currently approximately £1.3 billion per annum for the UK as a whole and £1.2 billion for England and Wales8. New analysis for England and Wales, which have the most detailed data sets, showed that future potential risk estimates are within the following ranges:

  • £1.5 billion to £3.5 billion by the 2020s
  • £1.6 billion to £6.8 billion by the 2050s
  • £2.1 billion to £12 billion by the 2080s.

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012, Evidence Report, January 2012.