The government has published the UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), which acknowledges that ensuring the UK is resilient to climate change is an ‘unprecedented challenge’.
The five-year assessment identifies the risks that climate change poses to multiple parts of our society and economy.
The report reveals that economic damages for eight individual risks could exceed £1 billion per year each by 2050 with a temperature rise of 2°C, with the cost of climate change to the UK rising to at least 1% of GDP by 2045.
‘This report makes clear that even modest increases in global temperature will have profound impacts across every aspect of our lives. Adaptation can no longer be an afterthought, action on climate change of all kinds needs to be right at the heart of government policy and programmes.
‘For too long the trend has been for the government to take too little action too slowly. Its own assessment here concludes more needs to be done across half the 61 climate risks identified including food, water, energy and nature. Yet this analysis itself has identified that many actions can be good value for money.
‘The costs of inaction will be huge to both the public and future governments, turning away and hoping for the best is neither environmentally, socially or economically good sense. But acting now will protect people and their livelihoods whilst also helping our economy.’
DR DOUG PARR
Policy director at Greenpeace UK
The UK government and devolved administrations have begun work to support climate change adaptation.
£5.2 billion has been allocated to build 2,000 new flood defences by 2027 and the total spend from the Nature for Climate Fund on peat restoration, woodland creation and management has been increased to more than £750m by 2025.
Work on the Green Finance Strategy to align private sector financial flows with clean, environmentally sustainable and resilient growth continues, as does work to ensure climate science and research, such as the UK Climate Projections 2018, are fully integrated into planning and decision making, including on major infrastructure.
‘The scale and severity of the challenge posed by climate change means we cannot tackle it overnight, and although we’ve made good progress in recent years there is clearly much more that we need to do.
‘By recognising the further progress that needs to be made, we’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts and setting a path towards the third National Adaptation Programme which will set ambitious and robust policies to make sure we are resilient to climate change into the future.’
Climate Adaptation Minister
The CCRA recognises the further progress the UK government will seek to deliver through National Adaptation Programme (NAP3), to be laid in Parliament in 2023.
The report comes three months after the UK hosted the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, bringing together nearly 200 countries to limit temperature rise and keep 1.5 alive.
‘This report makes clear the risks of failing to act on climate change, and the UK’s world leading approach to net zero must include action on adaptation to ensure we are resilient to climate change in the future.
‘This includes building on our strong progress to deliver a reliable, home grown renewable energy sector, provide highly skilled jobs, and secure investment as we build a cleaner future.’
Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change
Following the completion of the CCRA, and to support the development of NAP3, the UK government will now conduct further internal work to develop new and existing policies to tackle the risks, and engage with external stakeholders to further develop objectives ahead of the publication of NAP3.
A research programme is being created to support this, including further development of our understanding of climate science, improved access to the science to help decision-makers understand risk better, more localised climate risk assessments and improved measurement of adaptation, enabling better monitoring of progress.
‘Reducing carbon emissions from homes is an essential part of our climate change response and we are making great progress. From June this year new homes will be expected to produce around 30% less CO2 emissions rising to 75% from 2025. We have also updated planning rules to place a stronger emphasis on delivering sustainable development and a more proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change.’
Housing Minister, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
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