One of the most poignant threats to both our economy and prosperity is that of Climate Change. Climate change is nothing new, it has happened naturally over millions of years, however anthropological climate change: that caused by human activity is new.
There is now 40% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there was prior to the industrial revolution. As a consequence the global average temperature is rising with the last decade being the warmest on record.
As such, actions to decrease emissions must be taken and whether or not we are responsible for this increase is not the argument, decreasing emissions and looking after resources is what will sustain our future. Global warming will increase risk of changes in the climate system, the melting of ice sheets, rising in sea levels, lack of resources and the loss of species.
The Governments' approach to adapt and mitigate these circumstances has targets of cutting emissions by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. By setting and meeting reduction targets this may be achieved.
- Climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it.
- Global average temperatures are continuing to rise.
- Current climate change is not simply part of a natural cycle.
- Earth's recent warming cannot be explained by solar activity or natural factors alone.
- If we continue emitting greenhouse gases this warming will continue and delaying action will make the problem more difficult to fix.
- Climate models can predict the main features of future climate.
What does climate change mean to you?
Depending on where you live depends on the effects of climate change. Overall the effects will be felt economically. Most people like a sunny day and if that is what climate change means, why should we do anything at all? The fact is that weather bad or good is defined by individual events, events which both us and wildlife recover from, even when they are extreme. Climate change is much more. It brings increased extreme weather events such as storms, high winds and extreme temperatures. As these occur more frequently our ability to recover lessons and the impact is felt on our resources, economy and wildlife.
Below are some possible impacts from climate change:
- Increase of flooding
- More frequent repairs to flood damaged property
- Water contamination
- Lack of fresh water
- Effects on service provision
- Increased food prices and water bills due to stresses on resources
- Increased energy costs due to extreme temperatures
- Roads buckling due to heat
Bassetlaw's approach to climate change will be to:
- Demonstrate leadership and take action to adapt and mitigate to climate change
- To signpost and facilitate the public, business and communities in playing their part in the emission reduction challenge.
- To act sustainably and be open and transparent in its operations and commitment in emission reduction and to find the appropriate balance between environmental benefits and economic impact.
- To be outward looking and see the problem of climate change as a global and local issue.
- To adhere to reduction targets which are both obtainable and beneficial through the implementation of work plans throughout all elements of council services and its estates.
What are we doing?
In 2009 Bassetlaw District Council developed a Climate Change Strategy. This included information on how the Council intends to adapt and mitigate to the changes brought about by climate change. It also included workplans on all areas of sustainability, efficiency, renewables and waste. These are now being updated and will also include the new risk assessment and LCLIP, Local Climates Impact Profile.