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Major reforms required to protect economy, infrastructure and communities says Committee on Climate

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Nick Mabey, Chief Executive of the climate change think tank E3G, responding to the new Climate Change Risk Assessment, said:

“The measured scientific language of this report conceals a stark warning that the UK is unprepared for the worst impacts of climate change. The Committee find that the government is unaware of the true economic cost of climate change and existing institutions are failing to manage complex interactions between impacts. These failures put UK infrastructure, businesses and communities at risk.”

“Climate change is already recognised as a threat to UK national security and without urgent action will undermine our economy as well. The Government should ask the new National Infrastructure Commission to ensure resilience to up to 4C of global warming across all UK infrastructure systems.”

“The impacts of climate change will soon exceed our ability to adapt unless the world acts faster to limit risk. Like any national security risk the Government must address the cause of this threat and not just the impacts. Ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement and pushing for rapid decarbonisation at home and abroad has never looked more urgent.”

Notes to editors:

1. New report from the Committee on Climate Change, embargoed until 00.01 on 12 July 2016 provides authoritative scientific assessment of climate change risks to UK. For more information please contact CCC Communications Manager, Jo Barrett jo.barrett@theccc.gsi.gov.uk, 0207 591 6262 or 07940 703911

2. Committee on Climate Change say that the magnitude of UK climate change impacts may exceed our capacity to adapt. See diagram below from p26:

3. Committee on Climate Change says 4°C average global temperature increases remain possible by 2100, but though detailed impacts are unknown due to a lack of research they are likely to exceed the UK’s ability to adapt. See p25, p32 and p66 of the report.

4. Committee on Climate Change criticise the Government’s failure to adequately assess the economic cost of climate change to the UK on p75 of the report: “The evidence suggests that indirect economic losses to the UK from climate risks are likely to be at least of the same order of magnitude as the identified direct losses. To date there has been little assessment of the potential macroeconomic impact of climate change for the UK.”

5. Committee on Climate Change points out widespread failures in government institutions tasked with managing climate change on p31 of the report: “Institutional barriers: Obstacles to success include misaligned organisational or policy goals, the need to co-ordinate action by many partners, and the lack of effective monitoring and evaluation strategies that allow lessons to be learned and best practice to be disseminated.”; and p76 “limited alignment between policy goals… and capacity gaps including as a result of funding and resource constraints, particularly at the local level.”

6. E3G’s latest report Faster, smarter, safer, cleaner: Making Britain’s infrastructure systems fit for the future outlines what the UK must do to deliver the highest value from £750bn in new infrastructure and supply chain investment planned by 2025.

See: https://www.e3g.org/library/making-britains-infrastructure-systems-fit-for-the-future

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