Mary Church: As much of the country suffers under another week of sweltering temperatures, Westminster’s Environmental Audit Committee has issued a stark warning: heat-related deaths will treble by 2050 as a result of a warming climate. A shocking 7,000 people will die in the UK each year from the impacts of heat unless government acts on the dangers of climate change. The committee’s focus on adaptation in its recommendations reflects the grim reality that global warming is not some distant threat, but is happening now, and we must prepare to deal with the consequences of living in a world made warmer by human actions. News of a rising death toll from climate disasters around the world that have made the headlines all too often this summer, from prolonged heatwaves in Canada and Japan, to flash floods in Laos and Cambodia, and raging wildfires in Greece and Sweden, help this reality to sink in. While so far we have escaped some of the worst impacts in Scotland, we are not immune; private water supplies drying up in Moray and the roof of Glasgow’s Science Centre melting as the mercury hit a record 31.9C are a small taste of what is to come if we fail to address the cause of warming. What we are witnessing now is the impact of a mere 1C of warming. The impacts of 1.5C, 2C or more will be far, far worse, with widespread disruption to food production, famine, new diseases, mass species extinction, sea level rise, the destruction of livelihoods and even entire countries. And, of course, these impacts will bring increased political instability, violent conflict and a rise in climate refugees.
Scotsman 26th July 2018 read more »