As Catcliffe, Retford and other rural areas continue to clean up after the storm, climate change activists are drawing attention to who is responsible for the flooding. To show that the oil company was ultimately responsible, they changed the name of Storm Babette to Storm BP. They have known since the 1970s that CO2 emissions cause increased flooding, so they should compensate flood victims. Future storms will be renamed after various oil companies.
The Conservative government has a history of ignoring science. Rishi Sunak was described as ‘Doctor Death’ during his time as chancellor after ignoring scientific advice and promoting a ‘eat out to help’ scheme during the coronavirus crisis. It is not known how many people died as a result of this. But if we ignore climate science as we currently do, there will be an unimaginable death toll.
Our government and most governments around the world continue to ignore what climate scientists say. We must begin the transition away from fossil fuel use immediately. Instead, our crazy governments are investing more in oil, coal, and gas that will further increase global temperatures.
Climate change activists have recently been debating among themselves how high the death toll could be. Roger Hallam, one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion, claimed in an interview with Radio 4 that if global temperatures rose by 2 degrees, there would be 1 billion deaths. Author Mark Lynas wrote an article questioning the scientific basis for this. Roger’s quote was from a peer-reviewed paper, but Mark questioned the qualifications of the person who reviewed it.
To me that number is irrelevant. What is very clear is that people around the world are already suffering from the overheating of the planet. Crops are already failing and we heard this week that there is a global rice shortage. Rice prices have soared 20% since June. This is an extremely serious challenge for countries in Africa and Asia where hunger is widespread. Shortages are caused by droughts and floods.
I don’t understand how you can calculate the number of deaths that can occur with 2 degrees of heating. But unless, for example, a collapse of the global food system is averted, the numbers will be enormous.
Throughout my lifetime, scientists have carefully measured small, gradual increases in global temperatures. Temperatures typically increase by 0.01 or 0.02 °C per month. This year’s September temperatures were the warmest on record, significantly breaking the previous record. September was 0.93°C warmer than the average September temperature from 1991 to 2020, and 0.5°C warmer than the previous record set in 2020.
Professor Stefan Rahmstorff, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, called the numbers “stunningly bananas.” Next, the difference between his previous record in September was 0.09℃, 0.07℃, and 0.06℃. “
Climate scientists don’t understand why this number is so high. I fear that we have entered a new phase, reaching a tipping point that means the climate will become increasingly unstable.
In Antarctica, scientists recently discovered that ice is melting much faster than previously expected. If the West Antarctic ice sheet collapses, global sea levels could rise several meters and many coastal cities could be flooded. The study found that the world is warming twice as fast as climate models suggest.
Climate scientists have long predicted that the polar regions would warm faster than the rest of the planet. This is known as polar amplification and has been observed in the North Pole.
Dr Mathieu Casade, a French climate scientist and lead author of the study, said he had found “direct evidence” that polar amplification is currently occurring in Antarctica as well.
“It’s very worrying that we’re seeing such significant warming in Antarctica, above and beyond natural variability,” he said.
Of course, the faster the polar regions melt, the more flooding can be expected here.
What do you need to do? Don’t build on floodplains! Rewilding heaths and restoring peat bogs to slow the flow of these big storms. Millions of trees should be planted to absorb excess water. Further plans are needed to slow the flow of water, such as those currently in place at Graves Park and Manor Park Fields. In urban areas, we need less pavement and more green space and green roofs. Councils should encourage householders to install water vats and encourage people to empty water vats before major storms. And certainly we need plans for physical flood protection, sewer improvements, and river culvert removal. Catcliffe urgently needs a planned new pumping station.
Regional plans to build flood resilience are outlined in the Mayor’s report ‘Connected by Water’ published in January this year. This came true after her 2019 floods, when Fish Lake was particularly hard hit. There are many good plans here, but we need more drastic action from governments to prepare for the dramatic climate change ahead.