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Oh what Joy… a Mediterrannean climate for the South

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Research published by the UK government this week demonstrates the realities of climate change. Various scenarios for different parts of the country were simulated, based on CO2 emissions increasing with time, staying constant, and decreasing with time. In the ‘worse-case’ scenario, by 2080 the south of England would see a Mediterranean climate: namely hot, dry summers and mild winters. Rainfall could decrease by 20% by 2050, and heatwaves of 41C could sweep across the South.

Now I know a few people who may relish this idea, my mother being one. But what sounds like a bit of glorious weather would have disastrous consequences. Firstly, migration waves would overpopulate the (already bulging) South. Think about it: if the UK saw a Mediterranean climate, southern Europe would see an African climate, north Africa would then see an equatorial climate, and mid-Africa would be uninhabitable. Agricultural production in all these countries would drastically reduce. Drought and starvation would push people North. Southern UK already has less rainfall per head than the Sudan; this would be exacerbated by less water and more people.

Thousands would die in the UK from the mid-summer heat (think about the French heatwaves a few years back). Low-lying parts of the South would be non-existent due to rising sea-levels. Old, stuffy buildings would have to be ripped down at rapid rates as people swelter within. Native plants in our garden would disappear, replaced by little else. Unpredictable weather conditions such as thunder storms and flash floods would be seen more often. And Great White Sharks could patrol our coastlines.

The reality of a Mediterranean climate is a harsh one. It has been just three years since the Stern Report examined the damning effects of climate change based on a 4C rise, and since then predictions have worsened. Predictions in 2015 may suggest an African climate for the UK by 2080, 2025 predictions an equatorial climate by this time, and…. well, where do we go after that?


About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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