International climate change has greater UK impact

A new report has suggested that climate change abroad will have more of an impact on the UK than that from climate change at home.

Research by PwC for Defra says the UK is likely to be hit by increasingly volatile prices of many commodities as the climate is disrupted.

It comes a week after a government minister called for a relaxation of EU GM rules in order to aid crop production and after the National Farmers’ Union warned that this year’s wheat crop could be down by 30%.

The main threats identified by PwC were:

  • damages to physical and financial assets from extreme weather
  • increased frequency and urgency of humanitarian assistance
  • increased volatility in food prices; political or policy reactions affecting availability of food supplies, and
  • increased demand for UK government services by overseas territories and citizens abroad.

The report said: “While progress has been made in many countries, including the UK, to understand the impact of climate change within national borders, little progress has been made to understand the international dimensions.

“And yet in an increasingly inter-connected world, it is more important than ever that governments, businesses and other organisations understand, and are able to adapt to, changes in other countries.”

The report is a follow-up to the recent UK Government Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) which assessed domestic threats and opportunities. 

It is based on the UN’s “medium CO2 emissions scenario”, which is broadly aligned with the 2°C maximum temperature increase – a target that is unlikely to be met.

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