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A Summary of Climate Change Impacts in the West Midlands Combined Authority Area


Global view

Our climate is already changing as the planet has warmed by 1.1°C since the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago.

The global commitment to limit human induced climate change to well below 2°C came in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement and was adopted by 196 parties. It is agreed that the ideal target is to limit a global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the UK’s Met Office announced that there is a 40% chance of the average annual global temperature reaching 1.5°C of warming by 2026.

However, despite global policies and efforts, the planet is currently on track for up to 2.9°C of warming by 2100, and only an urgent system- wide transformation can avoid an accelerating climate disaster.

We have already observed more frequent and intense extreme weather events as a result of climate change, causing widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damage to nature and people.

This leads to an array of impacts across water scarcity, food production, health & wellbeing, cities, settlements and infrastructure.

By 2070, around 2 billion people living in some of the most politically fragile areas of the world will be enduring annual average temperature of 29°C.

UK view

In summer 2022 seven Met Emissions and expected warming based on pledges and current policies Office weather stations recorded maximum temperatures in excess of 40°C across England for the first time.

Not every summer will be hotter than the Global GHG emissions GtCO2 e/ year last, but temperature records are expected to be regularly broken, while heatwaves are likely to be longer and happen more often Human-caused climate change has made the chance of 40°C in the UK 10 times more likely when compared with the pre-industrial climate.

As the climate continues to change, the UK is likely to see wetter winters and drier summers, with extreme events happening more frequently. Wildfires are set to increase by 50% by 2099, and severe flooding events will become the new normal without sufficient adaptation.

Climate change is affecting us now and we need to prepare for it, to prevent significant consequences across society, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Adaptation will be more successful if action is taken within the next decade, especially if this is underpinned by supporting action taken on decarbonisation measures. Adaptation investment also has the opportunity to not only protect us from climate impacts, but to provide multiple benefits across society, for our health, economy and environment. This is especially true where we use nature-based solutions to minimise risks from overheating, flooding and droughts. Section 3 covers adaptation in more detail.

It is therefore important that organisations and people across the WMCA understand what climate impacts mean for them, to begin to implement the plans and action required to adapt.