Tougher action needed to cut greenhouse gases

Environmentalists called today for tougher action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of the publication of new predictions of how climate change will affect the UK in coming decades.

The UK Climate Projections 09 study will outline changes to temperatures, rainfall and sea level in different parts of the country that could occur up to the end of the century.

The research, delayed from last year, looks in detail at what might happen under different levels of emissions, analysing different regions of the country, including river basins and the country's seas.

The scientific research, led by the Met Office Hadley Centre, breaks the country down into 25km squares and makes predictions for what is likely to happen to the climate over a series of 30-year timescales.

It builds on a study from 2002 which concluded the UK will get warmer, with hotter drier summers and milder, wetter winters, and sea levels will continue to rise.

Ahead of the publication of the study, Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: "This valuable new research will highlight the damaging impact that climate change will have around the UK and show the need for urgent action to cut emissions.

"The UK Government must take tougher action on climate change - and show real leadership by example ahead of crucial climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December."

He also called on local authorities to take action to cut energy waste and boost renewable power and green transport options.

Alongside the Projections study the Government is publishing a "five-point plan" on the action it is taking to cope with the impacts of climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The strategy includes immediate measures to protect people from climate change, such as the heat wave plan ministers have drawn up with the National Health Service, and long term plans for coping with rising temperatures.

It sets out the need for a new global deal on cutting emissions to be agreed in Copenhagen in December, and says the Government will shortly outline the steps it will take to meet its commitments to move the UK to a low carbon economy.

The five-point plan also pledges to support individuals, communities and businesses to do their bit in coping with the impacts of climate change and reducing their emissions.