Climate change is unseen pandemic

As roadmaps were being revealed for the country’s recovery from the Covid pandemic, a warning was issued yesterday that the climate emergency represented a bigger threat to human life.

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the UK Environment Agency said that climate change was the unseen pandemic – adding that if left unchecked it would kill more people, and do much more harm, than Covid-19.

And he warned that the net effects would collapse ecosystems, slash crop yields, take out the crucial infrastructure, and destroy the basis of the modern economy and modern society – with drought, flooding, wildfires and heatwaves killing more than most wars.

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“In the same way we have to work together to tackle Covid-19, it follows that we will get the environment we pay for, we will get the climate we work for,” said Bevan.

He said that modelling had shown that the reasonable worst case scenario for climate meant much higher sea levels which would take out most of the world’s cities, displace millions, and make much of the rest of our land surface uninhabitable or unusable.

“If that sounds like science fiction let me tell you something you need to know. This is that over the last few years the Reasonable Worst Case for several of the flood incidents the EA has responded to has actually happened, and it’s getting larger.

“That is why our thinking needs to change faster than the climate. And why our response needs to match the scale of the challenge.”