Climate change will cause more floods and droughts and England must become resilient, Environment Agency warns
By SEAMLESS DAILY
13 October 2021
England faces more floods and droughts, rising sea levels and greater demand on water supplies due to climate change, the Environment Agency has warned.
Ahead of the UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow, the government agency is warning that adaptation – becoming resilient to the already inevitable effects of climate change – is just as important as actions to cut greenhouse gases.
It is a case of "adapt or die", the agency's chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd said, adding that deadly events such as the flooding in Germany this summer would hit England if the country did not become more resilient to the violent weather the climate emergency is bringing.
the environment agency said it was working with government, businesses and communities on flood protection and with watchdog ofwat on water environment, which is suffering from pollution and increased demand.
The agency alone can not protect everyone from increasing flood and coastal risks, and traditional flood defences will not be able to prevent all flooding and coastal erosion, the report said.
There will be more and worse environmental incidents, such as flooding, water shortages and pollution; regulation is not ready for climate change; and the natural world can not adapt as fast as the climate is changing, the EA said.
Population growth and climate change will also increase the demand for water, meaning that if no further action is taken between 2025 and 2050, more than 3.4 billion extra litres of water per day will be needed for resilient public water supplies.
hotter drier summers, rising sea levels and pressures from development are adding to water supply issues, the report said.
With 2C of global warming – below the level of warming for which the world is currently on track – England's winter rainfall will increase by about 6 %, but summer rainfall will be down 15 % by the 2050s.
it said it was also focusing on restoring and creating peatlands, wetlands and other habitats to create resilient places for wildlife, reduce the risk of flooding, improve water quality and boost access to green spaces for people.
Howard Boyd said : "The climate crisis is global, but its impacts are in your village, your shop, your home.
"adaptation action needs to be integral to government, businesses and communities too, and people will soon question why it isn't- especially when it is much cheaper to invest early in climate resilience than to live with the costs of inaction.
She added : "While mitigation might save the planet, it is adaptation, preparing for climate shocks, that will save millions of lives.
Choosing one over the other on the basis of a simple either calculation is like telling a bird it only needs one wing to fly."
Ms Howard Boyd also said that, despite the UK government's intention to focus on adaptation at Cop26 next month, the issue was in danger of being "grievously undercooked" by the world at large.
"it is adapt or die."
with the right approach we can be safer and more prosperous.
So let's prepare, act and survive."
the report warns london's sea level could rise by between 23cm and 29cm by the 2050s, and around 45cm by the 2080s.
The Environment Agency leader said the country was "running out of time" to bring in effective adaptation measures, adding : “ Significant climate impacts are inevitable.
We can successfully tackle the climate emergency if we do the right things. ” The warnings in the Environment Agency's third adaptation report come as Labour urged the prime minister to "start being a statesman" or risk failure at Cop26.
The patterns of river flows will become more extreme, and wet days could become more intense.
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