Shropshire Star

Star comment: We must move quickly and become better prepared for climate change

For many years we have talked about climate change, rising sea levels and the effects that a warming planet has on civilisation. Much of the discussion has been relatively abstract, with a focus on emissions, targets, or weights and measures of polluting carbon dioxide.

Reservoirs ran lower than usual last summer

Yet in recent years, climate change has become a much more tangible issue here in the UK. We are seeing more extreme weather, and last year’s heatwave was the latest in an increasingly common example. Worryingly, research suggests our emergency services are not geared up to cope with another summer like last year.

While temperatures at the moment are around average, it is a worrying prospect as we head into the summer months. Climate change is already affecting us and the impact will only become greater. Action must be taken to ensure we are able to cope.

There are going to be more extreme weather events, with flooding more likely during spring and summer, as well as autumn and winter. There will be episodes of searing heat and prolonged periods of no rainfall. Our critical infrastructure has not been designed for such eventualities and will be pushed to breaking point, and beyond.

Political, policy-driven decisions must be made – and made soon – so that the nation is able to cope. We can observe the catastrophic effects that climate change is having around the world, from far-flung island states, to such allies as Australia. We must work more quickly both to mitigate the effects of climate change, to find behavioural and technological solutions, and to make ourselves better prepared.