Knock on effects for Reading
I am still working on the following sections ... please bear with me as I build up the content and check references.
It is fair to point out that Reading isn't the centre of the Universe(!) and that we don't live in isolation. Climate change effects in other parts of the world will be different, and may be more or less extreme. Hopefully, it is clear to see that knock on effects of following anything like the high emissions scenario will be completely unacceptable. We must fight hard to reduce our emissions so that we are not left with trying to adapt to some dangerous consequences of climate change.
You can see from the adjacent map, of summer temperatures change in the 2050s, high scenario, one example of how climate change is expected to vary across just the UK (you can find more pre-prepared maps like this on the UK Climate Projections 2009 website). You can see that Reading can expect to get relatively warmer than other parts of the country.
- Other parts of the UK are likely to see different changes to their climates. For example the north west looks like it will see more extreme changes to rainfall patterns, and more flooding. We will have to help pay for their defences.
- Agriculture may have to change. There will be some positive consequences - e.g. longer growing season; and new vineyards - but there could be some negative changes which could effect the cost and variety of our food.
Global issues that effect us
From the Global consequences page, you can see that some places will have to deal with some much bigger challenges than Reading will. These could effect where people can live, work and grow crops; which in tern will have consequences for global trade.
- I am mindful that in the UK we don't manufacture much any more, what are we going to do if environmental problems hit the far east, and we cannot buy cheap clothes and electrical goods (etc)? Will this lead to bigger wobbles in the global economy than we experienced with the banking collapse?
- We are also used to a wide variety of exciting foods from around the world. But more importantly, how much do we rely on imported food...will we be able to be self-sufficient in the future?
- Finally, it is worth considering that other parts look like they will become very difficult to survive in. There are very likely to be environmental refugees, who may well look to move to the UK as a relatively safe place to be. Can we cope with that influx, whilst trying to balance the resource problems our current population will have to deal with? And it is going to be a hard moral argument turning people away, when you consider our current / historic emissions.
Final points to consider
By the end of the century, if we have followed the lowest emissions scenario, changes to our climate will hopefully be stabilising. I expect to see the start of these changes to weather patterns in my lifetime. They will continue to change and become more extreme for a long time after the year 2100.
If we have followed anything like the high emissions scenario, changes to our climate will be accelerating. The consequences of even the change by the end of the century will make parts of the world very difficult to live in, and will have serious impacts on the rest of the world. Surely this future cannot be allowed to happen.
It is important to understand that there is a long delay before we feel the effects of climate change. It will take decades before the effects of today's increases in greenhouse gases are felt. This makes it so very important that emissions are cut soon, to reduce the amount of change in the future.
There is no getting away from the fact that we will need to adapt to a changing world though. And this will have to happen on top of the pressures on resources and population growth. We are going to have to show a lot of maturity as the human race: we are going to have to work together and help each other. And we must remain sober about this - panic and fighting really wont help.
Return to main Consequences page