Climate change is now widely accepted as one of the greatest challenges we all face. If these challenges are not addressed it has been calculated that the costs to the world’s economy will be greater than the cost of the 20th century’s world wars and the Great Depression combined.
Whilst Birmingham is already taking great steps to reduce its carbon footprint it is equally important to ensure that the city and its residents are prepared for and resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
A changing climate
Detailed climate projections scenarios produced by DEFRA show that by 2080 we are likely to see:
- average summer temperatures increase by 3.7°C/6.66ºF and by up to 10°C/18ºF on the hottest day
- average summer rainfall reduce by 20%
- average winter rainfall increase by 18%, and by up to 30% more on the wettest day
Flooding and heatwaves
The frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods is set to increase. To increase resilience to such events, we need to plan, prepare and maximise the opportunities available to all critical sectors.
The 2003 heatwave which killed 32,000 people across Europe was the equivalent of a 1.8°C rise. This could realistically become the standard average summer temperature by 2050.
What is being done?
Be Birmingham and Birmingham City Council are increasingly being seen as leaders in this field. The Birmingham Environmental Partnership’s Green Infrastructure and Adaptation Delivery Group (formally the Climate Change Adaptation Partnership) comprises partners from a broad range of services who are working together to understand the risks and opportunities of climate change, develop an adaptation strategy and deliver projects that will improve resilience.
What can you do?
For more information go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/sustainability.