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Archive for January, 2014

I was out early last weekend to watch a very high tide along a sheltered stretch of estuary – it came within half a meter of topping the flood banks, but no damage was done. Nature gets dislodged by these events: the spaces where estuary birds would usually sit out the high tide were inundated, leaving them confused and looking for alternative places to rest. The local Peregrine Falcon was looking to exploit their confusion, demonstrating its ‘fastest animal in the world’ status in chases.

As we know, no single event is a weather pattern, so we can’t attribute individual floods to climate change. But the scientific consensus is that extreme weather and high flood risks are going to become more frequent. So as well as getting ready to face this threat more regularly, maybe we should be taking the need to reduce our carbon emissions more seriously?

What will it take for people to connect their own behaviour to climate change? We’ll hear the usual excuses, quoting oil-sector sponsored lobby-science, blaming China for the emissions (forgetting we buy the goods the energy is used to make…).  You would think the country’s environment authorities would at least have some awareness.

Not so the Environment Agency staff where I was out walking. They sat in their van, near the sluices, watching their flood banks and precautionary sandbags, with the engine running! Presumably they couldn’t see the irony in unnecessarily emitting carbon while watching a flood threaten. I hope someone can?

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