The widely anticipated report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released on Monday.
Using information gathered by nearly two thousand experts from over 70 countries, the report has concluded the evidence to support anthropogenic (man-made) climate change is ‘overwhelming’.
At a news conference, Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC said “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.” This report is the conclusion of three years work by the international scientific community. It is, according to the IPCC, the most definitive proof since the last report, in fact the available evidence has doubled in that time to provide proof that the theory is accurate.
It’s important to make clear the distinction between climate and weather. Some view higher than average snowfall or colder than average temperatures in some areas as evidence against climate change or ‘global warming’, however according to scientists involved with the report these severe, but localised weather events are the effects of the changing climate on weather systems on a global scale.
With the evidence being supported by more than 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies, leaders, both at a national and local level are likely to be reconsidering their plans on energy usage and disaster relief.
So what does that mean for the Test Valley?
The report has concluded that we are already seeing the impacts of climate change, with loss of polar ice, heat-waves and particularly, in the UK and Northern Europe, increased rainfall leading to flooding, as we have seen this year.
The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is also leading to an increase in the oceans, turning them more acidic, this creates problems for fish, which will likely to lead to a dramatic decrease in fishing stocks as the century goes on.
Clearly the most significant issue likely to affect the Test Valley is that of further severe flooding events. As reported earlier in the year by Andover and Villages, a number of villages were affected by severe flooding, not seen in some places for over 100 years. The market town of Romsey is continuing to show signs of the damage caused.
Hampshire County Councillor Sean Woodward, the cabinet member for the environment told Andover and Villages that the Council now has a role as the Local Flood Management Authority, which means the it has greater powers to ensure developers put in place adequate flood prevention measures. Cllr Woodward said the Council are already working hard to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in Hampshire.
The Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Ian Carr, told Andover & Villages that a conference was being arranged at the end of June to learn lessons from the unprecedented flooding experienced over the past few months and prepare for future severe flooding events.
A Council Spokesperson continued “We are still in the early planning stages but it will be aimed mainly at parish councils and local flood action groups. It will be an opportunity to share learning and best practice around the local flood response.”