Heat, Drought and Climate Change

A landmark study by the UN Intergovernmental Panel released in August 2021 issued a code red for humanity and warned that temperatures would continue to rise unless humans drastically cut CO2 emissions immediately. So, it should come as no surprise that the UK exceeded temperatures above 40°C for the first time since records began as well as experiencing the driest July since 1935.

Whilst it is lovely to enjoy blue skies and sunshine the impact of high temperatures locally in Wendover and surrounding villages is evident – trees are wilting, the outflow from the reservoir has ceased and fields of wheat were harvested before we had even reached August.

As humans, we are ever resourceful at adapting to climate change. We can air condition offices, homes, transport and cars – in fact, the first ever air-conditioned train arrived in the UK in 2009 and whilst only 5% of homes in Britain currently have air conditioning, this is likely to rise in the future. We can also save water and build new reservoirs to help us better manage droughts.

However, rather than continuously adapting to cope with the effects of climate change, which can add to our carbon emissions, perhaps now is the time to evaluate our individual carbon footprint. The first step is to understand your household footprint by entering information into a carbon calculator such as https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/. The resulting pie chart will enable you to see exactly where you are generating the most emissions and provide guidance on how to reduce your footprint.

In the UK, burning fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to emissions so insulating your home and switching to renewable energy will potentially have the biggest impact on lowering your emissions. To get more advice, visit the Energy Efficient Homes Fair at The Wades Centre, Stratton Road, Princes Risborough HP27 9AX on Saturday 24 September – 10am-6pm.