Friday, 6 August 2010

Floods

The floods in Pakistan are terrible. Understandably the media is full of the plight of the people and the torrential monsoon rains that continue to fall. There have been detailed explanations of the weather conditions that have caused the disaster, but I have heard nothing about the underlying cause, which is probably climate change. That the climate is changing is not in doubt; only this week The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US published its 2009 report on the status of the world's climate; all its 10 indicators demonstrated a warming world. A consequence of this changing climate is an increase in the frequency and violence of local weather events and we are witnessing in Pakistan is another example of this.

In the face of these inevitable floods we need to ensure that there are natural defences in place. In the UK we must re-wet the uplands and also restore and create more inland marshes. The Wildlife Trusts are doing just this through their Living Landscape agenda. The Big Fen project in central England and the Plumlumon project in Wales are prime examples. These schemes are more than just talk, they are well under way. When completed, the Plumlumon initiative could go a long way to preventing a recurrence of the recent floods in Gloucestershire. Why the big insurance companies are not funding this kind of project is beyond me.

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