How has the UK Responded to Climate Change?
Let's face it- growing waves, enormous storms and rising sea levels have influenced British life to a large extent. With the temperature rise, it was predicted that severe weather could have a negative impact on all living beings. Besides affecting plants, animals, and humans, climate change can also affect the UK's environment, public services, business, and lives.
Certainly, climate change is one of the major, profound challenges confronting the UK's social, political, economic systems. With huge risks and uncertainties, the country is making utmost efforts to tackle climate challenges changes.
According to Gov. UK, before the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels have increased by 45%. Even greenhouse gases are increased due to burning fossil fuels, deforestation, agriculture, chemicals, metals, and cement manufacturing. Around 43% of CO2 progresses into the atmosphere, and the oceans and plants consume the rest.
Indeed, climate change is one of the biggest challenges for mankind. Luckily, the UK government is adopting a coordinated approach to reduce emissions.
Impacts of Climate Change
In the UK, around forty per cent of carbon dioxide emissions are caused by humans. It is from the energy used in air travel, home, and driving. The impact of climate change can be seen in various aspects of life, such as
● More frequent hotter summer temperature (which may seem lovely at the time, but isn’t great for the long term of our planet)
● Wetter winters
● Increased local flooding especially flash flooding.
● Increase of extreme weather events such as snowfall, droughts, flooding and heat waves.
● Sea levels could raise up to 40 cm leading to floor and coast erosion risk.
● Increased risk of heat strokes and skin cancers.
● Water shortage, increase in the cost of living
● Crops and farming will be highly affected.
● Wildlife may not be able to adapt to these environmental changes.
UK responding to Climate Changes
Perhaps, global warming is a big matter of concern and needs instant action. The UK government is making utmost efforts to give people a safe and comfortable place to live.
And that is the reason the UK participated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. For the first time, a total of 195 countries said a big YES to the global climate deal.
This legal agreement has all the aspects to avoid serious climate change. All countries' governments should conform to limit global increase to below 2 degrees Celsius and striving for 1.5 degree Celsius.
To achieve this target, they favoured reaching a global balance of sinks and greenhouse gas sources in the second half of the century. This would definitely reduce impacts as well as the risk of climate change.
Climate Change Act
The Climate Change Act (CCA) obliges the government to set strategies related to adapting climate change and mitigation objectives for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. In this agreement's adaption section, the government has to publish a risk assessment of the present and predicted impact on climate change every five years. After this, the government has to lay out a reasonably practicable adaptation plan setting out policies to address the identified risk. This 128-page plan is a game-changer for the UK.
The Climate Change Act also stated that the government could cut national greenhouse gas emissions of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050. Moreover, it agrees that interim five-year "Carbon budgets" take the country towards a 100% target at the minimal cost. Policy measures focus on energy, especially electricity. This act created a new approach to manage and respond to the climate change challenge in the UK.
With the rise in global temperatures, the impacts of climate change can become more widespread and critical. Even a slight temperature increase can have a massive effect on the UK. The new act needs the government to adjust the carbon budget under restricted conditions. Else, it should accept the recommended emission level of the committee along with a legally binding budget.
The government has already legislated five carbon budgets running from 2008 and will go up to 2032.
Investing in green transport initiatives like Traktual should also form part of our response to climate change, find out more about Traktual and why we believe it's the future of green transport.