Government must take ‘joined up’ approach.
Immediate action and a ‘decisive, joined up approach’ is needed if the UK’s economy is to survive future bouts of extreme weather, one of the country’s leading renewables experts has said today.
The call to action from energy systems experts UFW echoes concerns raised by Labour leader Ed Miliband who said in an interview last weekend that the country is ‘sleepwalking to a crisis over climate’.
Despite strong scientific evidence to suggest that the floods and violent storms to batter Britain since the start of the year are as a result of climate change, Miliband blamed a ‘political division in Westminster’ for the lack of action.
UFW’s Business Development Advisor, David Taylor, believes that ‘clarity, consistency and a real commitment to renewables across the parties’ is essential to ensure that homes and businesses are protected moving forward.
He said: “The public perception of climate change is altering, and the general consensus is that this is now a very real threat to our livelihoods and our homes.
“The question cannot be whether it exists, the scientific evidence is irrefutable. Put simply we have a limited window in which to reverse the effects, or at the very least slow them down.
With the country subjected to more than 500 flood alerts and warnings on Saturday, Miliband committed to a three point plan that would see a boost to business investment in the green economy. A move welcomed by Taylor.
He said: “To some, a wind turbine is a blot on the landscape; but the reality is that without significant investment in green energy solutions our landscape will be destroyed regardless.
“The UK is ideally situated to capitalise on the benefits of green energy and has the natural wind, hydro and tidal resources to become a major supplier of clean, and sustainable energy to Mainland Europe.”
But Taylor warned that such a move would require not just cross party collaboration, but cross continent, cross cultural and a worldwide agreement on a sustainable way forward.
He went on to say that it was too late to simply ‘hope for the best’, and further supported the premise of a three-point plan which would include more ambitious decarbonisation targets and stronger resilience to floods, in addition to a commitment to green economy.
Taylor continued: “Evidence suggests that carbon dioxide is at its highest level for 800,000 years and it is vital that we look to de-carbonise as rapidly as possible to minimise the impact of climate change. But we also need to invest in infrastructure, flood defences and well-equipped emergency services to deal with the inevitable consequences of the more frequent, severe weather events that experts are predicting.”
The 2008 Climate Change Act established the world’s first legally binding climate change target. The government is committed to reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050*.
*From the 1990 baseline.
Today the bosses of Britain’s biggest insurers will travel to Downing Street for fresh talks regarding the insurance industry’s response to the winter floods.