When we talk or we hear people talking about climate change, we think that this big issue will have an impact on people distant in space [e.g. polar bears or people on the other side of the planet] or in time [e.g. future generations], without considering that we are already experiencing the effect of climate change in our cities and countries. It is difficult to see the impact of climate change affecting ourselves and the places we live and work.
This week I read two interesting articles on the Guardian website; the first reports a study made from scientists from the Universities of Sheffield in the UK and Rutgers and Washington in the US that suggests that very wet summers like the 2012 one could become the norm for UK. The second suggests that one of the first tangible effects of climate change for Britain could be a rise in the food price, as a consequence of unpredictable weather in the UK and of severe droughts in other countries.
Checking the Leicester City Council website I found that they have a section about climate change, that explains briefly what is climate change and what is causing it. Then there is a section about How it will affect Leicester and on What everyone can do, with measures for private houses and a serie of services the Council is offering [among them: the Home Energy Office, and the Hot Lofts scheme].
In the section about Adapting to climate change there is an explanation of the impacts of climate change on East Midlands and Leicester. The impacts are in line with the general UK picture.
- Colder and wetter winters have been predicted to affect East Midlands in the future years. Cold spells, like the ones in winter 2010/2011 have been forecast. The cold spells have an immediate impact with an increased damage to road surfaces and a longer term impact with increased flooding through the winter period.
- Hotter and drier summers have also been predicted. This might sounds a positive effect, but heatwaves can have serious consequences. Hot and dry weather has an impact on air circulation; this means that the air pollutants that would normally be blown away are staying at ground level. And this can have repercussions on anyone that suffers from respiratory illness or anyone that walks or cycles around the city. A decrease in in rain during the summers means much higher pressure on our water systems.
What do you think? Were you aware of the consequences at Leicester level of climate change?
Are you concerned about the effects on UK, Leicestershire, and you of climate change? And how much concerned are you?
Have you already experienced any of the mentioned effects?
For further information on local vulnerabilities to extreme weather conditions from across our region, please visit the Climate East Midlands website. To find out our more about the impacts of climate change in the UK take a look at the UK Climate Impact Projections website.
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