Thousands of England’s vital flood defences were in such a state of ruin last year they would fail to protect communities from extreme weather, an investigation has found. More than 3,400 of England’s “high consequence” flood assets, defined as those where there is a high risk to life and property if they fail, were judged by the Environment Agency to be in such a bad condition they were almost useless. This means that more than one in 20 of the country’s crucial flood defences were in disrepair in 2019-20, the highest proportion in years. This rose to nearly one in 10 in the regions battered by Storm Christoph last week.
Guardian 24th Jan 2021 read more »
Helping the most vulnerable people to cope with the climate crisis can boost the global economy during the Covid crisis and governments should make this a priority, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said. Kristalina Georgieva said international responses to the pandemic must urgently take account of the need to adapt to the impacts of extreme weather and other climate shocks, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Otherwise, the world risked billions of dollars of economic damage in the near future, as most countries were unprepared for the effects of a rapidly heating climate, she warned.
Guardian 25th Jan 2021 read more »
As climate change threatens a doubling of the impact of extreme drought and fire within a generation, researchers are uncovering the influence of human activity on both these growing risks. One study has found that human numbers exposed to the hazard of extreme drought are likely to double in the decades to come, as global heating bakes away the groundwater and limits annual snowfall. Another team of researchers says the risks of extreme wildfire could also rise twofold in the next 40 years in the Mediterranean, southern Africa, eastern North America and the Amazon. In those places already severely scorched by frequent fire − western North America, equatorial Africa, south-east Asia and Australia − hazards could rise by 50%.
Climate News Network 25th Jan 2021 read more »