UK heatwave is a call to action on climate, say government advisers

The heatwave sweeping the UK is a sign to take stronger action on climate change, the government’s top advisers have warned.

Unusually high temperatures have been recorded across the UK for the past month, leading to hosepipe bans and water shortages in some parts of the country. A lack of rain has seen reservoirs depleted as well.

This has been echoed around the Northern Hemisphere with wildfires in the Arctic Circle and Greece. In Japan, over 65 people have died as a result of high temperatures and the government has declared the heatwave a natural disaster.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has drawn attention to the damaging impacts of the heatwave and warns that it is a sign of things to come.

The body exists to provide the UK Government with advice on how to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. And the heatwave has prompted the advisers to reissue their warnings about the dangers of not taking swift action to protect people. For example, it estimates that the number of heat-related deaths could increase from 2,000 to 7,000 by 2050.

Kathryn Brown, head of adaptation at the CCC commented: “We know that the risk of heatwaves and higher average temperatures is increasing as the climate changes…we can expect greater water deficits across the country, including in cooler wetter areas like the north-west of England. The area of land well suited to the production of water-intensive crops, such as rain-fed potatoes, could decline by over 80 percent by the 2050s.”

“Action is needed to cool our homes: new build properties need shading and improved ventilation, as do hospitals. And we need to reverse the decline in urban green spaces that occurred between 2001 and 2016. We will be monitoring progress and reporting our findings to Parliament over the coming year,” she concluded.

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