UK Gov. Climate Advisers Warn Of Risks To Costs Due To Sea Level Rise

Climate advisers to the United Kingdom government claims that the government needs to formulate a new strategy to prevent the negative impacts of a rising sea level even as the English coastline is continuously battered by floods and erosion.

Such devastating events have already been witnessed by resident in the vulnerable areas such as north Norfolk and south Devon where houses remained submerged in water and buildings on the top of cliffs have crashed into the sea.

According to climate experts, this trend is set to worsen in the wake of a worsening climate change scenario throughout the UK in the forthcoming decades and a number of coastal regions would become inhabitable.

A new report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) claims that by 2080, coastal erosion would threat the existence of more than 1000000 properties and there would be significant risk for 1.2 million homes.

There would also be significant disruptions to local infrastructure because of exposure of dozens of major roads, train stations and landfill sites to the sea.

By around 2011, the experts expect a rise of at least 1 meter in the sea level around the UK and it is ripe time for the government act, warned the climate advisers.

“The end of this century isn’t all that far away, it’s in the lifetime of children who are alive today,” said Professor Jim Hall, the CCC adaptation committee’s expert on flooding and coastal erosion.

“We want to get things right now in order to make it easier to manage climate change in the future.”

The CCC dismissed as being insufficient the current “shoreline management plans” of the government because the programs are neither properly funded nor legally binding.

The experts opined that an effective program for tacking the potential changes would cost anywhere between £18-30bn, depending on the extent of and the rate of climate change.

It is expected that in the near future, many of the country’s coastal defences would fail and sea side town should immediately start preparing for more resilience and create and restore sea side habitats that would act as buffer the rising seas.

The CCC however said that considering the very long (185km or 115 miles) of England’s coastline, the government would find it too expensive to maintain the status quo by building ever higher flood defences even though it is possible to implement sustainable adaptation strategies. The result of this would be that such programs might have to abandon some smaller communities.

The report also stressed on the lack of initiative to communicate these issues to the public.  According to Professor Hall, authorities must first accept and acknowledge these issues and then discuss them with the people likely to be affected and those who are planning to settle in such vulnerable areas.

“They are buying properties without a full understanding of the risk,” he said.

The report concluded that enough finding should be ensured so that the issues and the risks could be effectively communicated to people and there should also be enough resources provided to undertake large-scale restoration projects for beaches, dunes and salt marshes which can act as natural buffers to rise in sea levels.

“As the climate changes the current approach to protecting the English coastline is not fit for purpose,” said Professor Hall.

“Climate change is not going away: action is needed now to improve the way England’s coasts are managed today and in the future, to reduce the polluting emissions which cause climate change, and to prepare seaside communities for the realities of a warming world.”

(Adapted from Independent.co.uk)

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