UK is failing to put climate crisis at centre of national security measures, MPs told

The US, Germany and other countries are putting the climate crisis at the heart of their national security plans but the UK is failing to do likewise, experts have told the government.

Extreme weather and heat are killing increasing numbers of people, damaging economies and forcing millions around the world to flee their homes, adding to an already unstable geopolitical situation, MPs were told on Tuesday at a select committee hearing.

The climate crisis has become a “threat multiplier” that can add to instability and the risk of unrest in many countries and is therefore an international security issue, parliament’s environmental audit committee was told. The increasing dangers of floods, droughts and other damage to vital infrastructure also makes the climate crisis a national security problem within the UK.

But while the US has taken a “whole government” approach to the crisis, ordering the security services to focus on climate risks in their assessments, the UK has lagged behind, according to experts giving evidence.

Not enough has been done in the UK to adapt to the impacts of extreme weather and prepare for future risks, said Lady Brown, the chair of the adaptation subcommittee at the government’s statutory adviser, the Climate Change Committee. “We are not seeing implementation and action,” she said. “We are not very ready at all [for the impacts of extreme weather].”

Helen Adams, a senior lecturer on disaster risk reduction at King’s College London, said part of the problem in the UK was that there was not enough interest in the issue from Downing Street. Stark warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world’s leading climate scientists, were “not getting to the highest level”, she warned.

Read the full article by the Guardian here.

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