The UK is “strikingly unprepared” for the impacts of the climate crisis, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which said there had been a “lost decade” in efforts to adapt for the impacts of global heating.
The CCC, the government’s official climate adviser, said climate damages will inevitably intensify for decades to come. It has warnedrepeatedly of poor preparation in the past and said government action was now urgently needed to protect people and their homes and livelihoods.
The extreme heatwave in 2022, when temperatures surpassed 40C for the first time, was both an example and a warning, the CCC said. More than 3,000 people died early and 20% of hospital operations were cancelled at the peak of the heatwave, while rail lines buckled, wildfires raged and farmers struggled with drought. “It won’t be long before those kinds of very hot summers are a normal summer,” said Chris Stark, CCC chief executive.
Areas where needed action is missing include heat-proofing homes, stemming leaks from water supply pipes and preparing for flash floods and shortages of food and other imports from nations struck by climate impacts.