Why do we need to adapt to climate change today?

The urgency to adapt to climate change today is becoming more and more pressing.

Posted on: 04/09/2023

With UK temperatures rising by 1.5 – 2°C, resulting in record breaking heatwaves, widespread droughts, a record number of wildfires and damaging winter storms, these changes to our climate will not only impact how we live, but also our industries.

We can no longer argue about the effects that climate change will have on our day-to-day life, as we are seeing and feeling them now.

In 2023 alone, we have seen deadly floods in India, Japan, China, Turkey and the United States, heatwaves in large parts of North America, Asia and Europe, which along with wildfires in countries including Canada and Greece and global sea surface temperatures at an all-time high since 1850, are creating irreversible damage to our natural cycles, such as the possible Gulf Stream collapse by 2025.

In 2022, the UK experienced:

  • Increased temperatures: record breaking heatwaves with temperatures exceeding 40°C that led to power cuts due to conductors sagging and transformers overheating; an increase in electricity demand risked triggering blackouts across the network; and a record number of heat-related deaths.
  • Changing precipitation patterns: the fourth driest summer on record, with even more extreme drought conditions seen in East Anglia – a key food production region – and very low river flows and reservoir levels across England and Wales.
  • Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

How will these climate changes impact businesses and industries in the UK?

We need to adapt to the changes in climate now, to mitigate the physical risks of extreme weather events, as well as supply chain disruptions due to the availability of raw materials, rising energy costs due to increasing demand, and increasing insurance costs and regulatory changes.

To help businesses and industries in the UK adapt to climate change, Innovate UK has launched the Climate Change Adaptation Innovation Network. The network will consider the role of innovation in:

  • Cooling: A solution to the impact of climate change, focusing on the options and government levers required for adoption in the UK.
  • Water: Focussing on stakeholders and understanding their challenges relating to climate change adaptation and the role of innovation.
  • Biodiversity: Exploratory area to understand the impact of climate change on biodiversity in the UK and the role of business and innovation.

Join the Innovation Network and be the first to hear about our latest activities and insights.

Related programme

Climate Change Adaptation Innovation Network

Climate Change Adaptation Innovation Network

The Climate Change Adaptation Innovation Network, founded by Innovate UK, is a collaborative community that aims to support businesses to innovate to overcome the challenges posed by climate change, to create resilient and thriving businesses across the UK.


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