Friday, February 13, 2009

Britain should prepare for massive loss of landmass, warn engineers

Guardian (UK): Ministers should prepare the British people to "adapt" in the longer term to a landscape devastated by climate change, including the possible abandonment of parts of London and East Anglia, a leading industry body warns today. Action to curb carbon emissions is failing, so the UK should immediately change the way it designs buildings, transport and energy infrastructure in preparation for aworld potentially characterised by extreme heat and high sea levels, argues the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in a new report.

The institute said it wanted its latest research to provoke serious action for future planning "not just for the sake of our planet but also for the human race. Yes, we need to mitigate [emissions] – but the evidence shows this is not working alone." Even with significant global commitment to avert climate change it could be many centuries before average temperatures can be stabilised, says the document, Climate Change: Adapting to the Inevitable?, which was described by environmentalists as a "wake-up call" for government.

IMechE said that sea levels are predicted to rise by 2m by 2250 and 7m by the end of that century. "A seven-metre rise in sea levels would impact on vast areas of the UK, including parts of London which border the Thames,[such as] Canary Wharf, Chelsea and Westminster, all of which would need to be abandoned," the report argues….

"The Pool from London Bridge: Morning" - lithograph by W. Parrott, 1841

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