Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency warned that the UK is seeing the impacts of the climate emergency hitting ‘worst-case scenario’ levels with more extreme weather and flooding.
In the speech, Sir James warned that higher sea levels will take out most of the world’s cities, displacing millions, and making much of the rest of our land surface uninhabitable or unusable.
He also warned that more extreme weather will kill more people through drought, flooding, wildfires and heatwaves than most wars have and the net effects will collapse ecosystems, slash crop yields and take out the infrastructure that our civilisation depends on.
The Environment Agency is already working to prepare for the effects of climate change. It is preparing to deliver the Government’s £5.2bn investment in new flood and coastal defences and implementing the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy to protect and prepare homes and businesses from flooding and coastal change.
Sir James, said: ‘We know exactly what we have to do. We need to mitigate the extent of climate change. We need to adapt to its effects. And we all need to lead by example.
‘The Environment Agency is doing those things. We are reducing the speed and extent of climate change by regulating down greenhouse gas emissions from industry, and by running the UK’s new Emissions Trading Scheme.
‘We are helping communities become more resilient to the effects of the changing climate by building new flood defences and our role in planning and placemaking. And we are trying to walk-the-walk ourselves, with a commitment to become a Net Zero organisation by 2030.’
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