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Watchdog: Britain facing 'make-or-break moment' to build climate change resilience

A report out Wednesday warns extreme heat events that Britain experienced in the summer of 2022, which saw temperatures top 105 F for the first time ever, are a wakeup call for urgent action to build resilience to climate change. File photo by Tolga Akmen/EPA-EFE
A report out Wednesday warns extreme heat events that Britain experienced in the summer of 2022, which saw temperatures top 105 F for the first time ever, are a wakeup call for urgent action to build resilience to climate change. File photo by Tolga Akmen/EPA-EFE

March 29 (UPI) -- Britain is at a "make-or-break moment" to step up adaptation to climate change after extreme weather in 2022 saw thousands of heat-related deaths, wildfires and significant infrastructure disruption, the country's climate watchdog said Wednesday.

The impacts of climate change will only intensify over coming decades, leaving Britain vulnerable without better resilience planning and preparation, according to a report to parliament by the Climate Change Committee.

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Models show "fully credible" government planning to adapt to key climate risks was on track to hit only 1 in 9 policy milestones while reductions in climate exposure and vulnerability were being delivered at an insufficient pace in every scenario.

"This is a make-or-break moment to avoid a further five years of lackluster planning and preparation for the changing climate by the Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs," the report said.

It further stated that a strong program would also be a "key element" to Britain's international leadership and its role in global efforts to combat climate change.

Adaptation Committee chair Baroness Brown said the committee had "laid out a clear path for the government to improve the country's climate resilience" adding that government leaders "must step up."

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"The government's lack of urgency on climate resilience is in sharp contrast to the experience of people in this country. People, nature and infrastructure face damaging impacts as climate change takes hold," said Brown.

"This has been a lost decade in preparing for and adapting to the known risks that we face from climate change. Each month that passes without action locks in more damaging impacts and threatens the delivery of other key government objectives, including Net Zero."

Britain has a 2050 target of reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero -- that is when the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted and the amount being removed from the atmosphere balance each other out.

A ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans is set to come into force in Britain in 2030. Sales of plug-in and self-charging hybrid vehicles will be permitted to continue until 2035.

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