London is going to suffer more extreme weather, according to a climate change report published on Monday.
After tumultuous flash floods in recent weeks, which wreaked havoc in houses, shops, roads and stations, a new UN report warns that without urgent action this could get worse.
The study also expressed concern that London’s skyscraper building boom will worsen heatwaves.
The assessment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a stark picture of the impact humans are having through activities such as burning fossil fuels – and the future the world faces if it fails to rapidly tackle the crisis.
The world will reach or exceed temperature rises of 1.5C – a limit countries have pledged to try to keep to in order to avoid the most dangerous consequences of warming – over the next two decades, the report says.
Temperature rises will continue until mid-century – and without fast, deep reductions in greenhouse gases will, over the course of the 21st century, exceed both the 1.5C and 2C limits set by countries in the Paris climate treaty.
A summary report has been released following its approval by representatives of 195 governments, who now face pressure to take more action to cut emissions in the run up to international Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November.
A section on Europe, said: “Extreme precipitation and pluvial flooding are projected to increase at global warming levels exceeding 1.5C in all regions except the Mediterranean.”
Northern Europe, which includes the UK, will get especially wetter, though droughts will also be on the rise as the weather patterns shifts.
The report stated that cities such as London are at risk of the “urban heat island effect”.
The warming of urban areas will be amplified by the prolific building of tall buildings.
The study, which focuses on the physical science of climate change, draws on more than 14,000 scientific papers to reach its conclusions and has found it is “unequivocal” that human activity is warming the world.
The report makes clear that human-caused climate change, which has pushed up global temperatures by 1.1C, is driving weather and climate extremes in every region.
One of the report’s lead authors, Dr Tamsin Edwards from King’s College London, said: “Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the 1.5C target will be beyond reach.”
Professor Corinne le Quere, a report author from the University of East Anglia, said: “The message could not be clearer, as long as we continue to emit CO2 the climate will continue to warm and the weather extremes – which we now see with our own eyes – will continue to intensify.
“Thankfully we know what to do: stop emitting CO2,” she said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “The climate emergency is the biggest global threat we face today – and it’s on our doorstep.
“This damning IPCC report must be a wake-up call for urgent action to protect our planet. If we’re to avert catastrophe, there’s no time left for excuses.
“In 2018 I declared a climate emergency. But we can’t rely on the actions of individual cities alone – we must act globally.
“#COP26 is a critical moment for the UK to exercise real influence on the world stage and secure a landmark global agreement to avert a climate catastrophe.”
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