Flooding in UK, snow storms and drought in the US, climate change across the world

satellite image uk storm

There has been a catalogue of unprecedented weather events in recent times, leaving politicians and authorities powerless. Rainfall in many areas in the UK has been twice the average for January and February and has left large parts of southern England under water now and for the foreseeable future.

The US has been hit by a second wave of snow storms in the North East – Second wave of huge snow storm hits US north-eastUS weather: ‘Catastrophic’ ice storm heads north-east. While at the same time California is struggling with a drought that has left the Water Agency unable to supply water to local agencies – Drought-hit California unable to supply state water, Could California’s Drought Last 200 Years? – after experiencing its driest year on record.

While it would be be unscientific to attribute these events to climate change, it would also be be unscientific to definitely rule out any connection: the predictions of weird weather events was all part of the the original assertion and are being observed more frequently, causing misery and massive damage to lives across the world.

Certainly more forthright commentators such as the economist Nicholas Stern have in the past argued that measures taken to mitigate climate change will be more cost-effective if they are taken early: Climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflictClimate change: hard rain, hard truths. His original 2006 analysis Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, although widely accepted at the time but controversial amongst the usual suspects, appears prophetic:

“Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen. The evidence on the seriousness of the risks from inaction or delayed action is now overwhelming..The problem of climate change involves a fundamental failure of markets: those who damage others by emitting greenhouse gases generally do not pay.”

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