Government accused of “lost decade” in preparing for climate change impacts

The Climate Change Committee has found that only five out of 45 adaptation outcomes across different sectors of the UK economy had fully credible planning in place

The UK is not fully prepared for the impact of climate change, according to a report by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

It says that although there is some sectoral planning in place, including in the food, water, energy and health sectors, only five out of 45 adaptation outcomes were fully planned for.

The committee has found that there was “no evidence” that vulnerability to climate change was being sufficiently reduced, nor that progress was being made to manage risks appropriately.

The CCC says a lack of urgency from the government on climate resilience is in sharp contrast to people’s recent experience of climate change.

The CCC has laid out recommendations for the third National Adaptation Programme (NAP), which will be published this summer.

The government’s NAP fails to match the scale of the challenge now facing the country, it adds.

Baroness Brown, who chairs the Adaptation Committee, has criticised the UK Government’s slow response to climate resilience, stating that it sharply contrasts with the recent climate-related experiences of people in the country.

With climate change taking hold, both people and infrastructure will continue to face severe and damaging impacts that will only intensify in the coming decades, she warns.

Baroness Brown added: “This has been a lost decade in preparing for and adapting to the known risks that we face from climate change.

“Each month that passes without action locks in more damaging impacts and threatens the delivery of other key government objectives, including net zero. We have laid out a clear path for government to improve the country’s climate resilience. They must step up.”

A UK Government spokesperson told ELN: “The UK is a world leader in working towards net zero and we have taken decisive action to improve the UK’s climate change resilience – including investing a record £5.2 billion into flood defences.

“We welcome the CCC’s recognition of our progress so far and will factor its recommendations into our updated NAP – which will be published later this year and will ensure we robustly address the full range of climate risks to the UK in the short and longer term.”

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