Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Warming Warning; Sponsored by Environment Agency A Weather Forecast for the Region in 2050 Predicts More Fires and Floods. but as AMY HUNT Finds out It's Not about Scaring Us but Preparing for the Future Sustaine

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Warming Warning; Sponsored by Environment Agency A Weather Forecast for the Region in 2050 Predicts More Fires and Floods. but as AMY HUNT Finds out It's Not about Scaring Us but Preparing for the Future Sustaine

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

BYKER will be balmy, Heworth humid and Whitley Bay wickedly warm.

That's the projection, but while no-one can be absolutely sure what will happen in the future, scientists are certain global warming is happening and is changing the way we live here in the North East.

Sustaine, the regional green living champion, has just published the most detailed study into what effects might be felt in the North East as a result of climate change.

The most area-specific report of its kind in the world, the North East Climate Change Adaptation Study, says temperatures are set to rise, summers will be much drier while winters will be wetter and heatwaves will happen more often.

Extremes will make wildfires and floods more common and damage buildings, while higher temperatures will increase the risk of disease in the old and vulnerable.

But experts say climate change could also bring benefits, as the balmy climate could entice tourists and firms developing renewable technology could create jobs.

The study was put together by regional climate change co-ordinator Adrian Hilton, who was taken on by Sustaine 18 months ago to come up with an action plan on how the region can tackle global warming.

The aim of the report is not to scare but make firm predictions about the likely effect of rising temperatures and give advice on how to cope.

Most scientists agree, no matter what we do to alter things now, our actions in the past have already committed us to a certain amount of warming in the near future.

Although the long-term goal is to halt and reverse the effects of climate change, in the shorter term, they say we need to adapt our buildings, roads and business dealings.

Adrian said: "This is the first region in the world, that has had this sort of resolution of climate data. Now we've got the information, we need to make sure we use it to our advantage to make sure our region is resilient to a changing climate.

"In the summer of 2003 there were 35,000 excess deaths across Europe and we saw an increase in the North East. By 2040, 2003 will be a normal summer and by 2080 it will be an abnormally cold summer. …

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