A new report has warned that London is under-prepared for the effects of the climate crisis – namely flooding and extreme heat. So, climate charity Ashden has highlighted some inclusive solutions that could better-ready the capital for possible disasters – while also calling out the lack of government action on the climate crisis.
UK: not ready for flooding and extreme heat
The interim report of the London Climate Resilience Review should prompt decision-makers to bring proven solutions from around the UK to the capital, says climate charity Ashden.
It said in a press release that:
London boroughs, the Greater London Authority, and national government must act now to protect the capital’s people, businesses, and nature.
The report, which Ashden submitted evidence to and was published on 17 January declares that London and the rest of the UK is ‘under-prepared for climate change impacts like flooding and extreme heat’. The final review is expected later this year.
Ashden says decision-makers should replicate successful initiatives from around the UK, to help London’s communities become more resilient to climate change.
The charity has also made ten recommendations for national government. These include more support for risk mapping, natural flood defences, and new homes designed to minimise the impact of extreme heat.
A “step-change” is needed
The report points to key strategic opportunities ahead, as well as gaps in the capital’s preparations for more severe flooding, storms, extreme heat, drought, and other risks. It recommends ‘a step change’ in adaptation planning and investment.
Dr Ashok Sinha, CEO of Ashden, said:
We’re delighted to see this London Climate Resilience Review interim report telling it like it is.
Londoners, especially the most disadvantaged, are in a very precarious position because of the threat of flooding and killer heatwaves.
What we need now is action across London to scale up solutions that are proven – these include planting trees that cool public areas and constructing protective wetlands to prevent flooding. Or setting high standards for home building and ramping up retrofitting for warmth and energy efficiency.
It’s also essential that national government devolves the powers and funding to enable community-led solutions.
What can London learn from climate future proofing already happening?
Ashden delivers annual awards for climate innovation, as well as ongoing support for councils, schools, and others tackling the climate emergency. Their work reveals initiatives that could protect and empower communities in the capital.
For example, schemes from Hampshire to Dundee show the potential of nature-based solutions, energy efficiency, and low carbon energy innovation. Ashden says these interventions will help communities stay safe, warm and cool, adapt to extreme weather, and also create stronger economies and greater wellbeing.
It says these wider benefits are crucial to winning public support for climate action.
The London boroughs of Enfield and Hackney, along with Liverpool and Hull city councils, have implemented new wetlands, flood defences, and green spaces. Nature-based solutions provide natural cooling, water capture, and flood protection:
Reducing household energy consumption is one of the most urgent priorities for cutting the UK’s carbon emissions and mitigating climate change, particularly in anticipation of a significant rise in air conditioning use and with 4.6 million English homes currently experiencing summertime overheating.
Organisations are already working around the UK on improving existing building structures to regulate temperatures and provide low-cost, low-carbon energy sources, as well as rethinking how we design new build homes that are fit for the future:
Funding to protect the future
Making changes to protect communities is undoubtedly an investment in the future. Funding our own climate ‘insurance’ by setting up protective initiatives is crucial to building our resilience to the changing circumstances and increasing energy costs we will all face.
As Sinha summed up:
What is clear is that we have the solutions, but government must get behind them with funding and policy immediately, so that communities and environments are protected.
Featured image via JJFarquitectos – Envato Elements and additional images via Ashden
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.