The climate change challenge
Greenhouse gas emissions have resulted in the average annual temperature in the UK being around 1°C warmer than the pre-industrial period (most recently defined as 1720 – 1800). This has already resulted in hotter summers, more storms and more severe floods, all of which will increase in frequent with a continued rise in temperatures. Depending on how much emissions are cut, the rise could be between 1.5°C to over 4°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Cost of floods
According to the Environment Agency, the total costs of the 2015/2016 floods was estimated at £1.6bn. PwC estimated that that insurance losses from storms Ciara and Dennis in February 2020, would be between £150m and £200m.
Waste and other environmental challenges
Other environmental challenges include air pollution, deforestation, threat to biodiversity, the depletion of natural resources and increasing waste generation. On this last point, for example, the UK generated 41.1 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2016 alone.