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Reading scientists comment on UK Climate Change Risk Assessment

Release Date 26 January 2012

Britain faces more risk from the effects of climate change, such as flooding

Published today (26 January 2012), the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment provides a national overview of the impacts of climate change - those that pose the most pressing risks to the UK - but also the opportunities.

It is the Government's first risk assessment as required under the Climate Change Act 2008. The assessment marks the first major step in the Government's programme to help the country prepare for the risks and opportunities that climate change could bring.

Find out more and see how research from the Walker Institute at the University of Reading has helped inform the new report

Professor Nigel Arnell, Walker Institute Director, University of Reading, said: "The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) represents a vital step in highlighting and managing the risks and opportunities from climate change in the UK.  The assessment looks at possible impacts of climate change across a range of sectors, through the 21st century. The assessment identifies coastal and river flooding, heat waves and pressure on water resources  as some of the most pressing risks for the UK.

"The language of risk is essential when addressing climate change, because, while we can expect the UK to get warmer, we don't know all the details of how temperature and rainfall will change at a particular place.  The language of risk resonates with business and provides a way to build climate change adaptation in to plans for the future.

"While the assessment provides a national overview, risks will depend on the particular business you are in. Many of these risks will be complex, and many may arise from climate changes in other parts of the world. It is important for organisations to assess their own individual risks and how they may adapt to them, and this needs close cooperation between the scientific community, public sector and business. The CCRA provides an excellent starting point for this cooperation."

Professor Rowan Sutton, Climate Director in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, said: "Assessing the risks that climate change poses to the UK is a vital and urgent task, and one which involves numerous scientific challenges.

"The first UK Climate Change Risk assessment is an important landmark. As well as raising awareness about the risks we face, it highlights the need for further research to refine our knowledge in order to provide more detailed advice which policy and decision makers need to design cost-effective adaptation strategies."

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