ITV News reporter Rupert Evelyn reports on the latest UK State of the Climate report
We are spending more than the Earth can provide and for 2021, today is the day we go into the red.
Earth Overshoot Day is “when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year”.
Underlining the impact of our insatiable appetite for nature’s goodies the Met Office has published its annual State of the UK Climate report and once again it makes for stark reading.
Last year, 2020, was the 3rd warmest, 5th wettest and 8th sunniest on record for the UK. Worryingly, it makes last year the first in which annual values for rainfall, temperature and sunshine were all in the top ten in the same year.
Senior Climate Scientist at the Met Office, Mike Kendon, says: "2020 was another notable year for the UK climate, with records broken for daily rainfall and monthly sunshine hours.
"Average temperatures for the UK continue to climb, with nearly a degree of warming when comparing the most recent 30 years with the preceding 30-year period.”
Devastating flooding events in London and mainland Europe recently are increasing in frequency and with tragic consequences.
We look to Government to protect us but despite the hundreds of millions being invested the chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, told ITV News: “It is vital that the general public are aware that we cannot protect everyone and everywhere from future flooding, which is why part of our flood strategy is to weave in making sure that individuals know the steps that they need to take to prepare, act and survive.
"And as recent flooding events have shown us in Europe, last word 'survive' is critical for people to understand.”
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In England, the Government is spending £860m on flood alleviation schemes this year.
Inevitably, many people will be left out, but Floods Minister Rebecca Pow says they’re trying to meet demand. “There are some areas where they frequently flood, but they don't quite hit the window for the funding," she said. "So we're looking very closely at that and how we could better help some of those areas.”
Plugging holes with flood defences to protect homes and businesses is a scientific game of whack-a-mole.
As soon as you fill one gap another that hadn’t been envisaged pops up. The increasing frequency of extreme climate events is alarming and today’s data is yet another reminder of the fragility of the situation we face.