University of Worcester students set out to examine the dramatic impact flooding and climate change has had on our beautiful city
Our plans as first year Sustainability students have quickly changed, due to the weather and flooding issues the city has been facing this week. We felt compelled to report on the issues brought by floods in Worcester, from our unique point of view.
Setting out from the St John’s campus towards the dramatically swollen River Severn, we saw the devastation the weather brought with it. We became even more convinced now is the time to talk about our impact on the climate.
Oxford University scientists have been warning us for nearly twenty years that climate change could lead to wetter winters and increased flooding. Keeping this in mind, less than 7% of news reports about the floods in the traditional media mention climate change!
The Met Office and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology issued a report on the recent storms just yesterday that announced for the first time that climate change is linked almost certainly with the extreme weather conditions we’ve been experiencing first hand in Worcester.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in 2007 that the risk of flash flooding and urban flooding will increase drastically.
This doesn’t only disturb our routines for a while, but leaves the country with major damaged. In 2004, the Association of British Insurers reported that the claims from storms and flood damages doubled between 1998 and 2003 in the UK, reaching over £6 billion. They also predicted a further increase of 300% by 2050.
In this context, we think a debate about climate change is essential and we shouldn’t forget to look at the causes of what is going on, in addition to dealing with the devastating effects of the following days. The Environment Agency is being closely watched, as they report to the floods. Conditions are expected to deteriorate further, with many areas seeing more than double their average rainfall.