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MPs Call for Improved Adaptation to Worsening Extreme Heat Risks

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is inquiring about how the UK can prepare for increasing temperatures and how policymakers should adjust to the increasing danger.

After one of the most torrid Junes in Britain's history, a parliamentary inquiry was launched to assess how Britain can adjust to higher temperatures without resorting to energy-hungry solutions like air conditioners.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has declared the commencement of a fresh investigation on heat endurance and sustainable cooling. This inquiry builds upon the findings of the EAC's 2018 report, which indicated that carbon emissions from human activities had doubled the possibility of extreme heat events. Link to the 2018 report.

In response to news from last month that Britain's 46 days without using coal to generate electricity had been ended by the activation of coal-fired power stations due to a surge in demand from air conditioners, the EAC commenced an investigation.

Philip Dunne MP, chair of the EAC, expressed that "we must accustom ourselves to the hotter summers that climate change has prompted" and that "the amount of fatalities due to the heat is already too much, and unfortunately looks to be increasing."

According to him, the cycle of deploying energy-extensive cooling solutions to deal with hotter temperatures needs to be broken. He believes there may be more efficient and sustainable alternatives, and the Committee will research these further.

MPs have determined that a new inquiry should be launched to analyze the three most pressing issues to help people in the UK adjust to the increasing temperatures. The investigation will build on the evidence accumulated from a previous report.

The inquiry will investigate the linkages between heat and well-being, particularly in areas with the greatest impact. During the summer months of 2022, 3,271 people passed away as a direct result of the heat, with the majority being over 65. Therefore, the primary purpose of the inquiry is to establish ways of protecting the most vulnerable people from the heat.

The research will look into the government's regulations regarding the current and future cooling demand. Parliamentarians mentioned that they would evaluate measures to enhance adaptation and resilience to increasing temperatures to identify sustainable cooling methods and adaptation approaches that lessen excessive heat, cut down energy use, and stop overloading the electricity grid.

At the EAC's 25th anniversary event at Imperial College London in February, the University of Oxford academics associate professor Radhika Khosla and Dr. Nicole Miranda initially put forward the inquiry. Subsequently, they have provided advisory assistance to the EAC while the search is still in progress.

Professor Radhika Khosla expressed excitement about being a part of the exploration of a significant but frequently disregarded subject of energy and climate change policy. She continued by noting that it is essential to reduce the most extreme consequences of the UK's rising temperatures to stop a domino effect on health, well-being, energy demand, and the emission of greenhouse gases.

The EAC is now welcoming written documents tackling the issues related to heat resilience and sustainable cooling; these documents should be submitted as evidence.

The EAC will refer to written documentation to begin its investigation, and MPs have announced a session of oral evidence collection to form their initial judgment of the situation.

Just days ago, academics from the London School of Economics called on the government to introduce a National Heat Risk Strategy in reaction to the intensifying heatwave menace. This is in line with the hazardous heatwave that hit the southern parts of the United States, with temperatures soaring as much as 20 degrees higher than the average in some regions.

The government has completed a project to safeguard the Dawlish coastal rail route from the effects of global warmings, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather. This program was announced today.

Following an £82m government-funded project, a new wall has been constructed along the South West and Cornwall track to protect it from harsh weather conditions. The route connecting passengers in the area has consequently been improved.

Completing the wall took place in two steps, and the final stage protected the grade 2 registered Dalwish train station.

Today, the transport secretary Mark Harper visited Dalwish station to celebrate the completion of a wall and the opening of a new railway station built at Marsh Barton, nearby Exeter.

Government funding for the £165m South West Resilience Programme has been established in response to the destructive storms of 2014, which caused immense disruption to the railway tracks and prevented passengers from traveling for over two months.


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