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We are ‘not adequately prepared for climate disasters’

  • by JW

‘The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen national resilience to prepare for future emergencies that may impact the UK.’ [National Audit Office]

The weather is not very good – with a report just out from the BBC, that Cornwall and Devon have been hit by heavy rain and flooding

Axminster has been flooded by the heavy rain

This is having an impact, as just tweeted by the New Economics Foundation:

The impacts of extreme weather will hit some areas harder than others, and will risk exacerbating inequalities across the country. People living in low-lying coastal areas will be more vulnerable to rising sea levels.

(19) NEF on X: “As the climate crisis progresses, the UK will face more floods, droughts and heatwaves. Today’s report shows that we are woefully unprepared to deal with the impacts of these extreme weather events on people, businesses and communities. 🧵👇” / X

This comment follows on from a piece in today’s Guardian – reporting that the UK government is not prepared for climate disasters:

The UK government is not adequately prepared for climate disasters including severe droughts and floods, a report by the National Audit Office has found. Climate campaigners have said that the UK government is “like a boiling frog” and “oblivious” to extreme weather.

Four extreme weather events including droughts, surface water flooding, storms and high temperatures (including heatwaves) were assessed by the independent public spending watchdog to determine how well-prepared the country is. Storms, floods and heatwaves can cause deaths, while droughts can have devastating effects on agriculture and there are concerns that supplies of running water in certain areas of the country could run out for periods in the future. The report took into account the fact that these events are becoming more likely, and will be more intense when they hit because of the changes to the climate caused by burning fossil fuels. For instance, by 2050 there is expected to be a 50% chance each year that summer temperatures will match those of 2018, the joint hottest on record.

It found that the Cabinet Office, whose role it is to coordinate government response to events “does not have clearly defined targets, or an effective strategy in place to make the UK resilient to extreme weather.”

Sky News reports that the Cabinet Office has hit back at the report, saying its flexible systems allow the UK to prepare for threats from extreme weather like flooding.

Here’s the NAO’s report:

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen national resilience to prepare for future emergencies that may impact the UK. 

Extreme weather events are those weather events that are significantly different from the average or usual weather pattern. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more extreme as global temperatures rise. Recent events, such as successive severe storms, high temperatures and droughts experienced in 2022, have highlighted the challenges that the UK faces from these risks...

Government resilience: extreme weather – NAO report