Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for environment says a ground-breaking new report detailing how the region will be impacted by climate change underlines the need to act now to reduce emissions and tackle climate risks.
The authority is the first in the country to publish a Climate Change Risk Assessment report which looks at the regional effects of rising sea levels and more extreme weather in Cornwall.
The report is produced by Cornwall-based climate science consultancy Climate Change Risk Management, (CCRM), led by director Professor Stephan Harrison, professor of climate and environmental change at the University of Exeter.
CCRM is made up of scientists working at the forefront of climate change science and policy with authors contributing to reports for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Cornwall Climate Change Risk Assessment report says the region will see among the highest potential sea level rises around the UK by the end of the century, in the range of 0.2m to 1m.
Exactly how high water levels will increase depends on the extent to which emissions levels can be reduced, the report notes.
Key potential changes for Cornwall include:
- The possibility of more high impact flooding of the type seen in Boscastle in 2004 and Coverack in 2017
- Stronger storms and higher wind speeds
- Faster coastal erosion
- More heatwaves and severe droughts
Councillor Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said: “Our Climate Change Risk Assessment Report is a first for a local authority and informs all of us, from our policy makers to residents to businesses, of the risks from climate change in Cornwall so we can make evidence-based decisions.
“It strongly underlines the need for us to act – to be aware of our impacts on the climate and to understand the risks that are coming. It highlights the fact there is no time to lose when it comes to cutting our emissions to reduce the likelihood of these risks to our communities and environment.
“Climate change is affecting us now, with the frequency of more extreme weather events growing. Building on our strong track record of supporting communities to be resilient, this report will help us consider how we will need to adapt and how we can support communities in developing their adaptation plans.
“As a council we are ahead of our targets on becoming a carbon neutral council by 2030. Across Cornwall emissions levels have also reduced in recent years but we all need to do more. If you’re unsure what you can do to help Cornwall become carbon neutral talk to us now. You can also visit our interactive Climate Change Centre at Heartlands or visit our Carbon Neutral Cornwall Hive online to learn about the small changes you can make that could have a big impact on your emissions and save money.”
As part of Cornwall Council’s commitment made in its climate change action plan it commissioned a Climate Change Risk Assessment Report to look at how Cornwall will be impacted by climate change.
It is complemented by regional, national and international assessments of the impacts of climate change.
The council is now developing a climate risk adaptation strategy to help Cornwall prepare for changes outlined in the Climate Change Risk Assessment report. This strategy will set out the pathway to adaptation and incorporate efforts that are already underway to make Cornwall more climate resilient.
The council has also developed a Local Climate Adaptation Tool in partnership with the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter, Then Try This and the Alan Turing Institute. The tool supports local decision makers in helping them understand the health implications of climate change and generates recommendations for adaptation responses.
Prof Harrison said: “In writing this report, CCRM are pleased to be helping Cornwall and its communities take the first steps to become climate resilient. This will help the region move towards a more sustainable future.”
Cornwall Council is recognised as one of the leading authorities in combatting climate change and is bidding to become the country’s first net-zero region.
The Cornwall Climate Change Risk Assessment Report is published at www.cornwall.gov.uk/climate-report
For more information on what the council is doing to tackle climate change and for advice on what you can do to help see https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment/climate-emergency and https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/hub-page/carbon-neutral-cornwall
Story posted November 11, 2022