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7 reasons why we need a climate change plan

We're helping draw up a much-needed plan for how the UK can achieve the SDGs, including action on climate change.

There's a legal requirement to combat climate change

The Climate Change Act (2008) underpins the UK's efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

A target of an 80% net carbon reduction on 1990 levels by 2050 is legally binding.

The UK Government urgently needs to set its next 'carbon budgets' — which restrict the amount of greenhouse gases the country can emit — to ensure emissions continue to fall.

The UK reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 43% between 1990 and 2017. (Source: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy)

More and more people are dying because of climate change

In the UK, the biggest risks linked to climate change are heat-related deaths and flooding.

About 2,000 Britons are killed by hot weather every year and by 2050, that number is expected to increase by 250% due to climate change and the ageing population.

Some 1.8 million people live in parts of the UK that are risk of flooding at least once every 75 years. By the 2050s, that number could rise to between 2.6 and 3.3 million people, with homes, businesses and lives at risk.

A first for SDGs in the UK

Produced by UKSSD, 'Measuring Up' is the first plan for how the UK will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the proposed plan, Earthwatch led on SDG13, which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. In our chapter, we show how the UK is performing in tackling climate change and make recommendations on how to address the challenges that remain.

Climate change can affect our mental health...

People who suffer extreme weather events may experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety, especially where they have little or no advance warning.

... and threaten our food supply

Climate change can cause extreme weather events such as flooding and drought which can affect food production.

It can also increase surface run-off, carrying more nutrients into rivers, ponds and lakes, while warmer waters may help toxic algae thrive. Both of these could disrupt the food chain and affect supply.

Droughts endanger lives and livelihoods

Algae in water sources, like this bloom in Lake Erie, USA, can be toxic to humans

Our children need to know about the future they face

We'll be living with the consequences of climate change for generations to come.

Children are likely to experience its impact first hand and although they're taught about it in school, it's not sufficiently covered.

Lessons need to teach how to mitigate, adapt to and spot the early warning signs of climate change, not just the science behind it.

Tackling climate change is expensive

The $100 billion (£75.9 billion) Green Climate Fund helps developing countries respond to the challenge of climate change.

The UK has pledged to provide £5.8 billion by 2020 — that's the equivalent of around £88 for every person living in the country.

Climate change affects everything and everyone

Climate change has links to every SDG.

It impacts food (SDG2), shelter (SDG11) and water (SDG6), as well as business (SDG9) and the natural world (SDG14 and SDG15).

Tackling it requires us to limit the energy we consume and emissions we create (SDG12); generate energy more efficiently using renewable sources (SDG7); and inspire the next generation to take action through better education (SDG4).

Images: iStock/rolikett, iStock/Ed-Ni-Photo, iStock/piyaset, NASA






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