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Wales Will Not Be Immune

Postiwyd gan Tom W o Caerdydd - Cyhoeddwyd ar 14/08/2008 am 16:18
0 sylwadau » - Tagiwyd fel Hinsawdd, Amgylchedd

WORDS: Tom Williams (Youth Editorial Group)

Ever thought Wales would be immune from the effects of climate change? Unfortunately for us, we won’t be. This is what we can all expect to witness in Wales if we don’t sort our act out with climate change. The time is now. The world is moving, are you?

Temperature:

We can expect to experience hotter average temperatures and an increase in the number of extremely hot days in summer. It all sounds wonderful, but when it brings heat exhaustion, death and water shortages, we will not be celebrating. We all complain when we don’t get enough sun here in the UK, but it’s funny how many of us also complain when it gets hot. If that’s not you now, just wait until climate change really kicks in.

Last year, temperature records were broken here in Cardiff with some people recording 36?C. We can also expect summer to continue long into September. The Met Office says since the mid-1980s the average UK temperature has warmed by about 1C. Will there be a repeat of the hosepipe bans? Will we have to limit our water usage in a developed country like the UK? It is better to conserve our water now at will, than be forced into tight restrictions in the future, don’t you think?

Precipitation:

We will have milder winters in years to come. Sounds good? Well, we will have a reduction in snowfall ? not so fun for the kids - and an increase in winter rainfall and in rainfall intensity ? even less fun! We’re a very mountainous country, so we get a lot of rain. If climate change is allowed to continue we will suffer very badly from rain-related effects.

There will be more extreme weather, such as severe storms and high winds, and we’re already feeling the push:

Flooding 2007:

The flooding that hit the UK in June and July 2007 was amongst the worst in our recorded history. At least seven people were killed and around 350,000 people in Gloucestershire in England were left for days without clean water, including my grandparents. The RAF mounted its biggest ever peace-time rescue operation to airlift stranded people to safety. By the end of the summer, the Association of British Insurers had put the cost of the damage at £3 billion. Gloucestershire is just across the water from us, but if that seems far away enough from us to be concerned, remember, it wasn’t just England affected, places in Wales like Barry were also badly hit.

A rise in sea levels:

Rising sea levels isn’t something you normally associate with Wales, but it must now be on our minds. There will be flooding in Wales too. Our major cities, including Cardiff, grew because of the ports there, so they’re all close to the sea, so when sea levels rise, they will be badly affected.

Increase in insects:

The likes of bloodsucking ticks, scorpions and poisonous spiders may possibly become an aspect of everyday life. There could also be an increase in pest infestations (fleas, wasps, mice and rats) and diseases too? yes, diseases.

Plants and shrubs:

Plants and shrubs will be able to grow further north, and more deciduous trees will be able to grow on low-lying land. Trees such as the Scottish Pine will be able to grow higher up the mountains, but on the other hand, many Arctic plants face extinction, and more forest fires are likely.

In the UK, a rise of 1.5?C would be equivalent to a decrease in altitude of approximately 200m or a shift southwards in latitude of 200-300km.

Positives?

? A longer growing season and higher yields of cereals, potatoes, sugarbeet and outdoor tomatoes will be possible.

? Mediterranean summers in the South of the country will allow maize, vines, oranges and peaches to be grown also.

? Greater tourism!!! Lots of the world will be too unbearable to go to!

Final note:

Ecosystems shift: Most ecosystems in the world are currently believed to be able to withstand only a 0.1?C global temperature change per decade before experiencing severe ecological stresses, leading to species extinction in some cases. We will easily exceed this change. This will be brought on by our actions.

The species that don’t adapt will die.

Your easy plan to make a difference:

1. Get better informed

2. Calculate your Carbon footprint

3. Short term goals: the quick and easy steps to reduce your CO2 output

4. Longer-term goals: the bigger, more ingrained habits

5. Spread the word: and use yourself as an example to others (lead by example)

Related sites:

For more on the Climate Change Champions: http://new.wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/climate_change/champions/?lang=en

climatechampions@wales.gsi.gov.uk

CARBON CALCULATOR: http://actonco2.direct.gov.uk/index.html

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