XR Hammersmith & Fulham Weekly Meeting
Emergency service personnel go to work never really knowing what their next call is going to be. However they are finding themselves increasingly responding to incidents such as flooding or fire.
Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the government said in September 2019 that these “extreme weather events” are happening sooner than expected.
In recent months police officers have been called to the town of Whaley Bridge to evacuate residents from their homes knowing the dam overlooking the town could have collapsed at any moment. In November a month’s rain fell in a day in the Doncaster area causing flooding, a tragic death and the evacuation of over 1200 residents.
Once again the emergency services found themselves working in testing and dangerous conditions. The burden of these incidents is only adding to already overstretched services.
If we are to expect emergency personnel to respond in these conditions, then it is only right they are afforded the best protection. National Risk Assessments in the UK are subject to review every 5 years, this is clearly not enough given the increasing speed of climate change.
Current risk assessments do not reflect the latest science, as they’re out of date. Whilst existing assessments acknowledge local extreme weather events, they do not reflect concerns in the latest reports from the IPCC, for example.
There are clear concerns now being articulated by scientists that need to be factored into UK contingency planning: Crop failures leading to food shortages in the UK and water shortages are real possibilities in the near future and will have a serious impact on communities.
Similar events in other countries have resulted in serious disorder and this needs to be considered by our emergency planners. The policing model in the UK is known as “policing by consent” this could be placed under severe strain if officers are required to put themselves between a parent and their child’s next meal due to the need to manage scarce food supplies.
As recent events have shown there is an urgent need to bring contingency planning up to date and to be realistic in recognising the possible challenges that we may face in the not too distant future.
Being honest in this endeavour may also highlight another undeniable truth: That the “Business as usual” approach is not an option, we must #ActNow to limit the impact of climate breakdown.
“Where is the plan to protect our emergency personnel and our communities?”
– Rob Cooper, Retired Chief Superintendent.
We are facing a man-made disaster on a global scale.
Once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.
I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels
If we can save the banks, we can save the world.
The future of the human race is now at stake.