The UK Government’s third climate report urged more action in eight key risk areas. In its most recent five-year assessment,
it said even low warming scenarios could cost £1 billion per year to the economy.
“The UK will be subject to a range of significant and costly impacts unless significant further action is taken now,” it said. The government must produce such reports under the Climate Change Act 2008.
Although the report details 61 risk areas, it selected eight for urgent action. Four cover biodiversity and land management. In fact, wildlife and agricultural habitats are at high risk from multiple hazards and require urgent action.
The advice report to the assessment said there is a two-year time window to act on freshwater habitats and wild land to protect species. Existing rules commit the government to halting species decline by 2030. But Defra must set out a comprehensive plan for doing so next year.
Flooding and poor farming practices continue to erode soil health, the report said. The government admits it has failed to tackle the issue effectively. It promised to develop new monitoring and soil improvement measures.
Crops, livestock and commercial forestry also face increased threats from climate change. In fact, risk assessment and planning often lags in farms compared with forests.
“There is an opportunity to improve climate resilience in forthcoming national and devolved policies for land management, net zero and nature protection,” it said.
Extreme weather disrupts supply chains and puts at risk the availability of foods, goods and vital services. Even though businesses are taking action, the report questions whether this will be effective in managing weather-related disruptions.
“Adaptation actions involve the provision of better information, diversification of supply chain risks and building better capacity to manage, share and transfer risk,” the report said.
In its move to net-zero, the government is switching to more dependence on electricity. But climate related hazards pose a serious threat to such energy supplies and the government is developing climate resilience in the sector, the report said.
As well as risk from the effects of climate change globally, temperature increases in the UK threaten to overheat buildings. This could pose a particular threat if working from home becomes normal following Covid-19.