By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst
12 July 2016
Climate change could have a domino effect on key infrastructure in the UK, government advisers have warned.
In a 2,000-page report, the Climate Change Committee says flooding will destroy bridges – wrecking electricity, gas and IT connections carried on them.
The committee also warns that poor farming means the most fertile soils will be badly degraded by mid-century.
And heat-related deaths among the elderly will triple to 7,000 a year by the 2050s as summer temperatures rise.
The UK is not prepared, the committee says, for the risks posed by climate change from flooding and changing coasts, heatwaves, water shortages, ecosystem damage and shocks to the global food system.
The projections are based on the supposition that governments keep promises made at the Paris climate conference to cut emissions – a pledge that is in doubt.
The committee says if emissions are allowed to spiral, London summer temperatures could hit 48C (118F) in an extreme scenario, although the advisers say they don’t expect that to happen.
The report from 80 authors is the most comprehensive yet on the potential impact of climate change on the UK.
‘Cascade of risks’
It identifies 60 risks and opportunities – many of them happening already as the climate has warmed.
Its conclusions on the inter-linking nature of threats to infrastructure is based on recent research.
The chairman of the committee’s adaptation sub-committee, Prof Sir John Krebs, told BBC News: “Infrastructure could be affected in a way that interacts.
- The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 has been released July 13, 2016
- UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 – Urgent priorities for the UK July 13, 2016
- Lord Krebs sets out key findings of UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 July 13, 2016