Friday, August 29, 2008

London's mayor warns city to prepare for future drought, floods and heat

This Is London (UK): Floods, heatwaves and drought could cause a virtual collapse of the capital unless action is taken to address climate change, Boris Johnson warned today. Launching London's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the Mayor said global warming would affect all Londoners. "For London, scientists currently forecast warmer, wetter winters and hotter drier summers, coupled with an increase in the frequency of extreme weather and rising sea levels," he said.

The report estimates 1.25million people would be affected by a major flood. It goes on to suggest ways to tackle climate change and mitigate its effects. But it comes as the Mayor faces increased criticism from environmentalists for failing to appoint a green adviser within his administration.

…Speaking at the Thames Barrier last night, Mr Johnson said: "Urban areas are inherently vulnerable to the impact of climate change - the density of people and assets means that there is automatically more at stake. "The strategy I am launching today outlines in detail the range of weather conditions facing London, which could both seriously threaten our quality of life - particularly that of the most vulnerable people - and endanger our preeminence as one of the world's leading cities."

The plan sets out a case for new green areas across London to help offset the "urban heat island" effect caused by large buildings trapping heat. It also calls for new plans to deal with flooding.

…Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency's Thames regional director, said: "London's world class city is currently protected from the increasing risk of tidal flooding by the Thames Barrier, which will see us into the next century as the people and businesses of London move forward in adapting to meet the challenges of climate change…..

The Thames Barrier, shot by Andy Roberts from East London, England, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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