As people flock to beaches and parks to enjoy the sunshine, is today’s “hottest day of the year” soon to become the new normal for our British summers?
Its been reported that heat waves in England are now up to 22 times more likely thanks to climate change. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) panel, led by Lord Deben and Lord Krebs, have been urging the government to take more action to prepare for the effects of climate change and introduce more planning to decarbonise our infrastructure. Lord Krebs has said By the 2050s the sort of heatwaves we might experience in the next few days will be the norm, a typical summer. Bar getting a suntan not seen this side of the Med, what does mean for us as a nation?
The government’s own analysis of the impacts of climate change suggests that climate change could increase the costs of flooding to £10bn a year by 2080, as well as cause more deaths from heatwaves, and large-scale water shortages. Over 700 impacts from rising temperatures have been identified, including the possibility of “climate refugees” arriving from wars over dwindling water and food, threats to forests from new exotic diseases, to affecting our food production as agricultural land and crops struggle to adapt to higher temperatures. With these temperature rises you would also expect a greater incidence of heat stress issues, especially the young, the elderly and the sick, and during heat waves a likely increased pressure on hospitals and potentially increasing death tolls.
Its not so tan-topping abroad either. India is currently recovering from the second deadliest heatwave in the country’s history, which had killed 2,500 people by the start of June. While the small islands of the Pacific, island nations have contributed almost nothing to the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions, will be among the hardest hit. For the tiny island of Kiribati it may already be too late with President Anote Tong, the president told leaders ahead of the climate change talks taking place in Paris this November, that tides were already forcing villages to relocate. While some low lying Pacific nations such as the Cartaret Islands have been climate refugees for the last decade.
But on the the plus side temperatures soaring as high as 35c this week, will have a significant impact on solar PV. There is set to be a surge in solar energy generation, particularly in the south of the country with generation in London and the south east especially high compared to last year. Also between 2013 and 2014 the renewable energy surge caused an important ‘tipping point’ in fossil fuel emissions: even though both the global economy and energy use grew, there was no matching rise in emissions of carbon dioxide. At a regional level local authorities such as South Cambridge District Council plan to install solar panels on 1,000 additional council houses, adding to the council’s already extensive PV roll-out, whilst the 24% rise in renewable energy coops across the country leads a democratisation of clean and endless energy at fair prices.
If you want to know more about these issues then why not come on our free workshops running later on this year? And here are some tips to enjoy the sun while we have it.