Experts Slam Government’s Insufficient Efforts to Safeguard Against Climate-Related Risks
The effectiveness of the government’s climate crisis coping plan has come under heavy criticism from experts, who argue that it falls far short of adequately protecting lives.
Following the leak of the document to The Guardian, one expert pointed out its failure to sufficiently shield the UK population from extreme heat, citing the devastating 2022 heatwave that caused over 3,000 deaths, wildfires, infrastructure damage, and agricultural struggles due to drought.
Other expert commentary highlighted a significant gap in measures aimed at restoring nature, which is crucial for adapting to climate change.
The National Adaptation Programme which is expected to be published on Tuesday by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is legally required to be produced every five years.
Its release was deemed a crucial moment by the government’s official advisors, with the Climate Change Committee, projecting its publication to be a ‘make or break moment’. The committee also stated that the UK was ‘’strikingly unprepared’’ and that inaction and insufficient planning had surmounted to a ‘’lost decade’’. Their resounding warning was that climate related issues (heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms) will only increase until carbon emissions reach net zero.
Ministers have long faced criticism for their inadequate planning regarding the impacts of global heating.
Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, expressed his disappointment stating that ‘’the new plan is far from being a comprehensive strategy to protect lives and livelihoods from increasingly frequent and severe climate-related events.’’
In the plan’s foreword, the Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, claims that it signifies a significant shift toward proactive risk management. However, Ward disagrees, arguing that the ‘’outlined measures lack the necessary urgency and scale to enhance the resilience of households and businesses.’’
“For example, the section on dealing with the mounting risks of heatwaves is very weak. It promises lots of new research on how homes and workplaces overheat, when this work should already have been undertaken. We need a national heat risk strategy and an urgent retrofit programme to stop existing buildings from overheating and damaging health and productivity.”
This is not the first time we are reflecting on the urgency of the building crisis in 2023. Earlier this year, we explored the pending emergency in our blog post: 86% of UK Building Sites Sleepwalking into Crisis.
The leaked plan references building regulations implemented in June 2022, aimed at preventing extreme heat exposure in new residential structures, but it neglects to address existing buildings.
It also details that the government will triple the funding for climate adaptation overseas from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025 to help vulnerable countries and to “reduce the likelihood of emerging risks cascading to the UK”.
This funding will come from the £11.6bn of international climate finance pledges by the government. However, a document from a Foreign Office, also leaked to the Guardian, indicates that this pledge is not realistic.
How we take action here and now
Although integral to the solution, we know that we can not only rely on government initiatives to combat the crisis.
Retrofitting and transforming energy management of businesses can start today – It must start now.
Businesses have the responsibility to take charge of their emissions outputs, and manage their carbon footprint using accurate data. We must begin with establishing a factual starting line, and then create a realistic strategy with expert support and guidance.
This is our mission. We understand the hurdles and we are ready to guide you through each step. Explore our technology.