The new report from the International Panel on Climate Change substantially confirms previous findings. Full details are available here. You can read the summary here.There is no disagreement among the authors about the confidence of the predictions.
Only one dissenting author expressed disappointment at the lack of emphasis on mitigation and adaptation. There is no doubt that action at government level to reduce emissions needs to be vigorously encouraged, but we will have to learn to cope with significant climate change impacts already built into the system.. But that is at a global and international level. Locally we need to think what can be done to alleviate the effects of flooding, prolonged drought and potential changes in weather patterns.
For the first time, the IPCC have clearly acknowledged that in addition to vigorous measures to reduce the effect of emissions on the climate, there is already so much change built nto the climate system that we are going to have to learn to adapt to inevitable changes at some level. The SPS Council will be considering the report when the promised third part of its review is published. This part should cover ,inter alia, the action that the IPCC believes is necessary to adapt to climate change. Such action is likely to have implications for the Solent and could eventually become the subject of legislation
In the Solent we are already seeing changes that maybe attributable to changes in weather patterns. It is not good enough to simply allow changing weather to wipe out important features such as the saltmarsh areas of the West Solent and Portsmouth Harbour. Already we are seeing rapid declines in some Solent bird populations. compensation projects such as Medmerry are welcome, but not enough on their own.
Protection of the environment needs to have a human context.
Having conveniently ignored sound science for the past sixty years, we are sadly now only able to address ‘damage limitation’ (adaptation and mitigation) rather than ‘damage avoidance’ (prevention). However while there are many other coastal areas of the world far more fragile than the Solent, that does not mean we should continue to ignore the topic – it won’t go away and will become increasingly critical.