Shocking face of the future
PUBLISHED: 12:09 08 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:22 28 March 2014
MARCH 7, 2008: The face of the South East of England could change forever within 50
years if opportunities to lessen the impacts of climate change are not
taken now, according to a booklet released (see below).
lines, parched golf courses, disappearing wildlife and freak weather
delivering alternating flood and drought could be part of a
dramatically changed way of life illustrated in the booklet which
delivers a stark but simple message: If you love England, act now to
save what makes it special.
Without action, by people and
government, everything from sport to gardening, house prices to
hedgehogs and farming to fishing could undergo some form of change. The
booklet raises awareness of what hotter drier summers, water shortages,
flash floods and storms would mean to the region. It comes with a
toolkit to help people communicate the reality of climate change and
inspire everyone to take action.
Our changing climate, our
changing lives - South East is produced by Tomorrow’s England, a
coalition of 11 organisations ranging from the National Trust to the
National Federation of Women’s Institutes, and from the Woodland Trust
to WWF-UK. (3)
“An increase in average global temperature of
more than two degrees centigrade will have catastrophic results for our
planet. Closer to home, the way we travel to work, the sports we play,
our health, and our environment could all be affected by shifting
weather patterns,” explains Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF-UK.
is also essential for the government to take a lead now with action to
reduce our carbon emissions by including the 80% target for CO2
reduction by 2050 in the Climate Change Bill, currently being debated
Andrea Davies, senior campaigner at the Campaign
to Protect Rural England, commented: “The changes which will alter the
appearance of so many of our cherished landscapes in the South East are
a wake-up call. Climate change presents us with huge challenges, but
there are also opportunities for everyone to take action at a personal
and a local level to reduce the impacts now and for generations to
Ed Pomfret, head of campaigns at the Woodland Trust,
added: “Climate change is already having a profound effect on the
natural environment including irreplaceable habitats like ancient
woodland, raising life changing implications for us all. This is a
valuable document which not only presents a snapshot of how that might
affect everyday life, but also provides ideas for what we can do to
make a real difference.”
More than two thirds of land in the
South East is farmed with traditional crops such as potatoes, apples
and strawberries. Warmer weather could see this landscape altered with
the introduction of figs, soya and even olives, suggests the report.
would have to learn about new, more exotic species of plants and trees.
By 2050 favourites like delphiniums and lupins could be replaced by
pomegranates, citrus fruits and apricots.
Models suggest beech and
oak trees would come under threat from gales, water logging and
drought. Some birds could lose their natural habitats and vanish from
the region as new species
like the black kite and the great reed
warbler take up residence. The hedgehog, already in decline, could be
extinct by 2025 if its habitual food of slugs literally dries up.
the Mediterranean becomes too hot as a comfortable holiday destination,
the south coast would become a more desirable alternative with August
temperatures regularly in excess of 30ºC. This would reduce carbon
emissions from air travel and airport expansion; however, the increased
heat could prove disastrous for transport across the region.
spells could cause chaos on the roads as road surfaces suffer. On the
trains, speed restrictions from buckled and fractured rails or
trackside fires would become the norm but frozen points would be a
thing of the past.
These higher temperatures would also impact
on the health of the region. Scientists say the death rate increases
3.3 per cent for every degree rise in temperature above 21.5C while
instances of food poisoning would become more frequent.
floods and storm surges are set to increase as the climate changes;
this will particularly affect the low-lying South East, impacting on
thousands of homes and businesses. Water demand in the region is due to
rise by 11% by 2030, and water will become more scarce and expensive.
Hosepipe bans are likely to become permanent in many places.
at Cowes may increasingly be disturbed by violent summer storms and
Henley regatta could be flooded out in a summer flash flood on the
Thames. Wetter winters would mean that rain stops play at football
grounds across the region.
If the grass burns to a crisp and
water restrictions are in place in the summer, golf, cricket and
football could all be disrupted. Falling river levels could impact on
With predictions that sea levels will rise by at
least 34cm by 2050 in the English Channel, beaches along the coast
could disappear and Henry VIII’s artillery castles along the South
coast could all be affected by increased coastal erosion.
Butfield added: “We are already witnessing changes in our climate in
the South East, along with every other part of the country. Such severe
scenarios could be lessened as we still have the power to make changes
for the better. The impact of homes on the environment can easily be
decreased, for instance, with new developments built to high
eco-standards and renewable energy playing an increasing role in
providing our energy needs.”
Our changing climate, our changing lives - South East is produced by Tomorrow’s England, a joint initiative funded by Defra http://www.defra.gov.uk/.
To download a copy of the report, toolkit and images visit: http://www.climatechangeandme.net/