As more disruption results from our changing climate, we need to be better prepared

July 2021 will be remembered for some amazing achievements by the GB Olympics Team, but it will also be remembered for the devastating legacy from lightning strikes, flooding and, further afield, wildfire.

The July heatwave led to the Met Office issuing its first ever amber extreme heat warning for the UK and Public Health England instigated a Level 3 heat-health alert, meaning that hot weather could pose a risk for vulnerable patients.

The hot temperatures then gave way to thunderstorms and multiple lightning strikes across the country, causing injuries and damaging property. Climate science studies suggest that climate change is likely to reduce the frequency of thunderstorms but intensify their severity with increased lightning.

These storms also resulted in flash flooding, particularly in London, which led to the evacuation of Whipps Cross Hospital due to a power outage, the closure of Underground stations and disrupted road and rail travel. We also saw horrific images of wildfire sweeping across Italy, Greece and Turkey with both lives and livelihoods destroyed by this most devastating impact of climate change. The Met Office issued its annual State of the Climate update last week reporting that 2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record for the UK – the first time that a single year has been in the top 10 for all three variables.

As set out in the June 2020 Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk, which provides the evidence for the UK’s next Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan, we all need to do more to build our resilience to the impacts of climate change. We also all have a key role to play in tackling climate change and reducing our carbon emissions. The Telegraph reported last week that most of our homes are not ‘extreme weatherproof’ and there are steps we can all take to help prepare for climate change along with the necessary interventions from central and local government and other agencies. JBA Technical Director, Rachel Brisley was also interviewed for the piece and highlighted the importance of climate adaptation.

“I think there is a big change needed in our housing stock particularly around overheating. We are very adaptable as a species and can cope with higher temperatures, but we do need to consider our living environment.”

Rachel Brisley, JBA Technical Director – The Telegraph, How to weatherproof your home for sub-tropical Britain

Over the next few weeks, we will be setting out how we are helping clients to enhance their resilience. This ranges from scientific research to practical approaches to assess climate risks and developing adaptation plans, as well as training on making organisations more resilient. There really is no time like the present. It is time to act and build a better future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren and for future generations to come.

Want to know more?

For more information on our services in this area, please visit our dedicated Climate Resilience webpage.

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