“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,” says UK Cabinet minister Alok Sharma, as he launched new research to step up Britain’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves and extreme weather storms.
The new £5 million research programme, ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’, has been launched to provide high-quality scientific research and analysis to 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.
Sharma, the President-designate of the COP26 climate summit to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November, added: “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.
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“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.”
To ensure that emissions are cut around the world, the scheme is expected to provide models for how the UK can reduce carbon emissions globally. This 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.
Under the British government’s plans, the research is aimed at ensuring the UK is able to respond to the impacts a warming planet will have on national infrastructure. This includes heat waves causing record temperatures in buildings, extreme weather damage to power stations and electricity networks, and flooding impacting our 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 and helping them to identify low-cost, low-carbon measures.