New research is set to ‘step up’ the UK’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, according to the UK Government, following the launch of a new £5 million research programme.
The research programme, ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’, will set out to providing high-quality scientific research and analysis, help inform future climate policy and 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 set out to ensure the UK is able to respond to the ‘impacts a warming planet will have on national infrastructure’, the government says.
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, setting out to equip them with information on how to help households cope with extreme temperatures and helping them to identify low-cost, low-carbon measures.
This new programme brings together the brightest and best climate scientists, universities and research institutions from across the country to provide us with the latest tools, advice, and research to inform future climate policies at a national and local level.
The effects of climate change are ‘already being felt in the UK and around the world’, the UK government says.
The Met Office’s State of the UK Climate report published last week showed that last year was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record.
Today’s new scheme will set out to help the UK take action to adapt to these changes and strengthen resilience to climate change impacts.
UK Climate & Energy Minister and International Adaptation and Resilience COP26 champion Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Climate change poses a threat to both our way of life and the safety of our nation. The climate decisions taken by the government now, and over these crucial next few years, are vital to protect our homes, our wellbeing, and our future.
“This new programme brings together the brightest and best climate scientists, universities and research institutions from across the country to provide us with the latest tools, advice, and research to inform future climate policies at a national and local level.
“This research will be vital to ensure we’re making the best possible choices on our journey to net zero, making certain the UK is adaptable and more resilient to the effects of climate change.”
To ensure that emissions are cut around the world, the scheme will also 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.
This announcement comes as part of the UK Government’s plans to ‘step up’ its climate leadership ahead of COP26, setting out ‘world-leading commitments’ to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
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 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 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 4-year UK government research programme will set out to improve the UK’s resilience to climate change by enhancing scientific understanding of climate impacts, decarbonisation and climate action.
It will set out to provide transformative advice, digital data, and technology such as data visualisation tools, providing 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 said: “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 £5.2 billion in new flood and coastal schemes to better protect 336,000 properties by 2027.”
*The Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World consortium will include:
- University College London (UCL)
- Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
- institutes supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), including:
- British Antarctic Survey (BAS)
- British Geological Survey (BGS)
- National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)
- National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
- National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
- Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
- UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH)