• A successful deal in Copenhagen will not only tackle global impacts, but is also vital for England’s Northwest.
• Climate change could increase Northwest winter rainfall by up to 31%, and summer temperatures up to 3.7 degrees Celsius by 2080.
• New evidence shows how businesses will be impacted by climate change, and that future flooding could increase annual economic damages three-fold - from £43m today to £138m.
• Most hit sectors will be leisure and tourism, manufacturing, services, biomedical and environmental technologies– sectors vital to the Northwest economy.
This weeks’ Copenhagen summit will be vital to ensure that the Northwest does not suffer the impacts of dangerous climate change. Most of the focus has been on the impacts on countries around the world, but as the recent unprecedented flooding in Cumbria’s shows, the Northwest is vulnerable to a extreme weather events that may become more common as a result of future climate change. There is a need for decisive action to be agreed at this month’s Copenhagen summit, as new evidence shows the depth of impact that a changing climate will have on the Northwest economy,
Two new reports highlight the increasing importance of climate change to the regions’ businesses. ‘Climate Change Impacts and Responses for Key Business Sectors and Public Services in the Northwest of England’ and the ‘Economic Impacts of Increased Flood Risk Associated with Climate Change in the Northwest’ have been published by the Northwest Climate Change Partnership to investigate the economic and social challenges the region is set to face. This work contributes to the delivery of the region’s Climate Change Action Plan, the document that sets out the region’s climate change strategy.
The findings underline the importance of the work currently being implemented through the Partnership to adapt the region to the unavoidable consequences of climate change - the network of organisations responsible for delivering the Climate Change Action Plan, identifying the impacts and preparing for the future.
The report on the ‘Economic Impacts of Increased Flood Risk’ assesses how the economy will be affected through flood risk associated with climate change in the region, with emphasis on the impacts to key business sectors. It also estimated the value of current flood defences to business now and going forward.
Of the estimated £138m annual average damages to the region, damage to businesses forms a sizeable part. The sectors that are most likely to be affected by increased flood risk, relative to the number of businesses in the region are leisure and tourism, manufacturing, services, biomedical and environmental technologies. However not all business are affected by flooding in the same way. The advanced engineering sector was found to be the biggest contributor to the estimated damages followed by retail and wholesale sector.
Robert Hough, Chairman, Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) said:
“These two reports, together with recent events are clear evidence that England’s Northwest is not immune to the serious effects of extreme weather events – both in terms of economic impact and quality of life.
“The Climate Change Partnership, who deliver the Climate Change Action Plan is playing a huge part in shaping the region’s future with both carbon reduction and adaptation at the top of their agenda.
“For England’s Northwest, the Copenhagen Summit will be a real turning point – decisions and deals made are not exclusive to one area, country or region. Instead they will be the first step towards a more coherent global strategy, benefiting us all.”
The Northwest Climate Change Partnership, now in its third year of delivering the region’s Climate Change Action Plan. Central to this is the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk management programmes.
Tony Dean, North West Regional Director of the Environment Agency said: “The flood risk report shows the economic realities the Northwest faces in relation to future climate change.
“It underlines the fact that this is not just a global issue, but one that will impact on communities and businesses across the Northwest. It also underlines how critical a deal in Copenhagen will be for people right here, in England’s Northwest. Delays in reducing emissions will however, lead to more severe impacts, adding urgency to the need for all countries to develop robust adaptation plans.
“Managing flood risk has never been more important. Through flood risk management, we can reduce the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea through the management of land, river systems, and flood and coastal defences. The Environment Agency is also working to reduce the damage floods can do through effective land use planning, flood warning and emergency responses.
The second report ‘Climate Change Impacts and Responses for Key Business Sectors and Public Services in the Northwest of England’ provides a resource for understanding climate change impacts on the key business sectors and public services across the Northwest.
The sectors identified as having the highest exposure to climate change impacts include the marine and logistics sector; the visitor economy (tourism); the construction industry; the health sector; food and drink; retailing; and public services, including housing, waste and transport.