New research to step up the UK’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves and extreme weather storms, has been made possible by the launch of a new £5m research programme.
Providing high-quality scientific research and analysis, the research programme, ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’, will help inform future climate policy.
It will be led by a consortium of some of the leading authorities in environmental science, such as University College London and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
This will ensure the UK is able to respond to the impacts a warming planet will have on national infrastructure.
Included is heat waves causing record temperatures in buildings, extreme weather damage to power stations and electricity networks, as well as flooding impacting communities.
The programme will also engage with local authorities on local climate action plans by equipping them with information on how to help households cope with extreme temperatures, as well as helping them to identify low-cost, low-carbon measures.
To ensure that emissions are cut around the world, the scheme will also provide models for how the UK can reduce carbon emissions globally.
It will build on the UK Government’s work with other countries to develop decarbonisation strategies, supporting overseas nations reduce their carbon footprints, while building resilience and protecting their populations.
This announcement comes as the government steps up its climate leadership ahead of COP26, making world-leading commitments to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
In recent months alone, the government has launched a new UK Emissions Trading Scheme, committed to end coal power by 2024, secured record investment in wind power.
As well as this, they have pledged billions in funding to support the development of carbon capture and the decarbonisation of transport.
The government said that everyone has a part to play in tackling climate change and combined with the efforts of individuals, businesses and industry, it is vital they prepare for how this changing climate will impact the nation and the public.
They also said that the new scheme will help the UK take action to adapt to these changes, as well as strengthen resilience to climate change impacts.
Commenting, COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma said:
“With fewer than 100 days to go until COP26, this essential research which helps the UK work with governments around the world to deliver ambitious plans to decarbonise and reduce emissions has never been more important.
“From flooding to wildfires, the extreme weather events we’ve recently witnessed show how crucial it is for communities to build resilience and protect their futures.
“This programme demonstrates our commitment as COP26 hosts to meet net zero by the middle of the century.
“The next decade is critical if we are to keep the 1.5 degree temperature limit on track and avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
The four-year government research programme will improve the UK’s resilience to climate change by enhancing scientific understanding of climate impacts, decarbonisation and climate action.
It will provide transformative advice, digital data and technology, such as data visualisation tools.
This will provide critical evidence and expertise to inform the government’s action plan to reach net zero and deliver a thriving, low carbon, greener future.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow added:
“Robust, world-leading science and research on climate change is central to informing our adaptation policies, as we work towards the next National Adaptation Programme.
“This new research programme will ensure climate science is fully integrated into our planning and decision-making.
"Including on major infrastructure and biodiversity projects, as we work to restore our peatlands, wetlands and natural environment, as well as improving our air and water through our landmark Environment Bill.
“This is alongside our record investment of £5.2bn in new flood and coastal schemes to better protect 336,000 properties by 2027."
PSE will be hosting a Public Sector Decarbonisation event on 9 September. Join us for the full day event by registering here.