LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has launched a 5 million pound ($7 million) research programme to help better prepare for risks posed by climate change such as heatwaves and floods, the government said on Friday.
The move comes a week after scientists warned Britain’s weather is already being hit by climate change and following catastrophic floods across northwest Europe last month and wildfires in several Mediterranean countries this month.
“From flooding to wildfires – the extreme weather events we’ve recently witnessed show how crucial it is for communities to build resilience and protect their futures,” Alok Sharma, president for the COP 26 international climate talks to be held in Britain later this year, said in a statement.
The research will be carried out by some of the leading authorities in environmental science such as University College London and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and will help to inform future climate policy, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said (BEIS).
Britain’s independent climate advisers, the Climate Change Committee, warned earlier this year the country has so far failed to prepare for many of the likely impacts of a warmer planet, such as worsening food security and the risks posed to health by overheating buildings.
Last month's floods follow just weeks after a record-breaking heatwave killed hundreds of people in Canada and the United States. Scientists have since said that extreme heat would have been "virtually impossible" without climate change, which had made such an event at least 150 times more likely to occur.
($1 = 0.7178 pounds)
(Reporting By Susanna Twidale, Editing by William Maclean)