Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

Cameron links extreme weather to climate change as Met Office issues more flood warnings

flooding fence by qbik via Flickr

The Met Office has warned of further disruptions from flooding in the south-west, West Midlands and some parts of Wales on Wednesday, as David Cameron says he “very much suspects” a link exists between the recent extreme conditions and climate change.

Forecasters predict up to 40mm of rain will fall in the next 24 hours, which will put under further pressure to protect themselves against floods. Saturated ground from previous flooding means more disruptions are likely as the bad weather continues.

The bad weather witnessed over the last few weeks in some parts of the UK has led to the deaths of seven people. And now, Cameron has revealed he thinks there is a link between the extreme conditions and manmade climate change. Speaking at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reduce emissions in line with the Climate Change Act.

His comments are likely to have ruffled a few feathers within the coalition, most notably those of well-known sceptic Owen Paterson. The environment secretary has recently come under scrutiny after MPs questioned whether cuts to the Environment Agency’s workforce, responsible for tackling flooding in the UK, were appropriate given the extreme weather that was battering the British Isles.

Friends of the Earth is the latest campaign group to hit out at Paterson, saying that his actions were seriously undermining the government’s credibility in tackling flooding.

The organisation’s executive director Andy Atkins said, “With Owen Paterson in charge of defending the country from flooding, the government’s credibility is sinking fast.”

“The environment secretary says the government is spending more on flood defences, when in fact he’s presided over a real-terms cut and hundreds of Environment Agency jobs are under threat – his refusal to accept the science of climate change may be blinding him to the human costs of the consequences of this.”

Further reading:

MPs question environment budget cuts amid UK floods

UK weather will ‘change rapidly’ because of climate change, experts say

Environment Agency job cuts ‘shortsighted’ in the face of future flooding

Further storms predicted into new year as UK clean-up operation continues

Storms return to bring flooding and power cuts to the UK

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