Britain has launched a £5 million research programme to help the world better prepare for risks posed by climate change, the government said on Friday.
The move comes a week after scientists said Britain’s weather was already being affected by climate change, and following catastrophic floods across north-west Europe and bushfires in several Mediterranean countries in recent weeks.
The floods came weeks after a record-breaking heatwave killed hundreds of people in Canada and the US.
Scientists have since said that extreme heat would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, which had made such an event at least 150 times more likely to occur.
“From flooding to wildfires — the extreme weather events we’ve recently witnessed show how crucial it is for communities to build resilience and protect their futures,” said Alok Sharma, president of the Cop26 international climate talks that will be held in Britain this year.
The research will be carried out by some of the country's leading authorities in environmental science, such as University College London and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and will help to inform future climate policy, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.
The Climate Change Committee, Britain’s independent climate advisory body, said this year that the country has so far failed to prepare for many of the probable impacts of a warmer planet, such as worsening food security.