Britons were today able to see for the first time how climate change may affect them in the places where they live. The new data reveals how the next century may unfold throughout the UK, allowing businesses and individuals to make informed decisions.
The UK Climate Projections 2009 were unveiled by government ministers and the Met Office. The report was simultaneously launched in print, online, and through an interactive user interface that can generate graphs and data sets for specific areas.
Climate change will have different effects in different parts of the country. The south is likely to suffer drier summers, compounding the occasional water shortages that already occur. Under some scenarios, summer rainfall in the south declines by 22%. The north of the country is likely to experience wetter winters, raising the threat of floods.
The reports also give estimates of temperature, with an increase of 2-6 degrees projected for the south of England. This could mean temperatures of over 40 degrees in London.
With region-specific data, local governments and businesses will be able to plan for the future. Drainage on roads can be improved to handle greater rainfall, and flood defences will need strengthening. In the south, saving water will become a priority.
“The Projections will allow us to make sure we have a resilient infrastructure to cope” said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. “Whether it’s the design of school buildings or protection of new power plants, maintaining the supply of drinking water, adjusting ways of farming for drier summers or understanding how our homes and businesses will have to adapt.”
The UK has committed to cutting its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Today the government announced a five-point plan for achieving these targets:
1) Risk management
Many of the UK’s coastal towns are already at risk from erosion. Protecting the coastline and flood defences will safeguard the most vulnerable areas.
All government departments will prepare ‘Adaptation Plans’ by April next year, showing how services will be maintained into the future, through buildings, farming practices and so on.
3) International agreement
The UK has committed to calling for a robust deal in Copenhagen in December, and plans to recommend global cuts of at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.
4) A low carbon UK
The UK will de-carbonise through energy efficiency and clean energy technology, including nuclear power as well as renewables. The government remains committed to carbon capture and storage.
5) Supporting individuals, communities, and businesses
The existing Act on CO2 information website will continue and expand, and people will receive financial help in making their own homes more efficient.
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