Caroline Spelman is worried the roads are melting due to Global Warming
Caroline Spelman, the UK's environment secretary, says we are already feeling the effects of climate change and must adapt fast
The past decade has been the warmest on record, and this summer saw the National Farmers Union warn that the driest first six months in almost 70 years has hit domestic wheat production particularly badly.
UK temperatures are now an average of 1c higher than they were just 40 years ago. That doesn't sound like much, but the 2003 heatwave which caused the premature deaths of up to 2,000 in the UK was only 2c hotter than the summer average. These risks need to be managed.
Unless we boost our efforts to mitigate and adapt, our future could involve thousands of roads being resurfaced to cope with higher temperatures or dug up to provide bigger storm drains while offices close at noon because the heat is too intense. Far fetched? Not really – the experiences of other countries show that extreme measures sometimes need to be taken if temperatures are not brought under control.
That's why supporting a strong and sustainable green economy – resource efficient and resilient to climate change – is one of my department's key priorities.
The time for speculation about climate change is over. Its impact– and the escalating costs of adapting to it – await us down the road if we don't, together, make it a priority now.
Whatever happens at Cancún, we need to speed up the pace of adaptation at home. Mitigating the causes of climate change and adapting to its effects are now two sides of the same coin.
Digging the roads up in case they melt? How about actually preparing for a touch of snow and ice and ensuring the roads are actually usable instead of the bloody shambles we are in already this winter.
That is real and happening now.