We’ve all been feeling the heat this week.
London’s new ‘routemaster’ buses, a Boris Johnson vanity project, are living up to their colloquial name of ‘roastmasters’ causing misery for passengers sitting on a bus with poor air conditioning and windows that don’t open. We’ve even had trains delayed across the country because of the ‘wrong sort of heat’. Everywhere you go people are talking about the heatwave.
What people haven’t been talking about is how poorly prepared we are for extreme weather. The Committee on Climate Change – the Government’s independent scientific advisers on the subject – published a report this week saying that the country’s vulnerability to heatwaves is increasing.
We know that climate change means heatwaves, floods and droughts are going to become more common here in the UK. The shocking thing is that over the last five years we’ve had almost no Government action on improving our ability to respond to extreme weather events.
Why? Because the Tories have failed to take climate change seriously, putting public safety and our economy at risk of serious harm. David Cameron needs to get a grip because we can’t afford to fail in the task of preparing for climate change.
97% of the world’s scientists say that global temperatures are rising and that human activity is driving that change. So we need to make our cities, towns and farms cleaner and greener to slow the release of greenhouse gases which help cause the warming. We need to do this all over that world. That’s why we should be encouraged that just this week China has made a huge commitment to reducing the rate at which they emit greenhouse gas emissions. Other countries are doing the same.
This week’s heatwave has given people plenty to talk about but we need to recognise the seriousness of our exposure to extreme weather. Around 2,000 people die each year from heat-related causes. That number is projected to rise to 7,000 per year by 2050 unless the Government takes action. If we’re going to be able to deal with extreme weather in future we need less hot air from the Tories and more action.
This article was first published on the Daily Mirror online on 3rd July 2015 and can be accessed here