Are these ‘grassland ecosystems’ really being protected?
Experts say they’re seeing more of the same, as the UK’s top climate change expert says the world’s biggest carbon sinks, grasslands and other natural areas are under threat.
The Guardian has more.
But the experts say they are finding a new level of concern as more of these ecosystems get wiped out by climate change.
The UK’s Chief Scientist, Professor John Cook, said in a recent report that climate change was now a serious threat to our natural systems and that “the UK is the world leader in this”.
Professor Cook said that while the impact of climate change on the UK was not yet clear, it was already affecting the UK and other countries, and was likely to become more severe.
“We are now seeing a pattern of the UK losing many of its grassland areas,” Professor Cook said.
“These losses are not necessarily linked to climate change, but they are occurring in large part because of the actions of the United Kingdom government, which has failed to protect the environment in the UK.”
“This is the biggest threat we face,” he added.
He warned that it was “very hard to imagine” the UK staying in the EU after Brexit, adding that “it would be a disaster for all of us” if it did not.
“Our grasslands are a major source of our livelihoods, which depends on them,” Professor Chris Hope, from the University of Leeds, said.
Professor Hope said that the UK should have a “consensus” on how to protect these areas and that if “we don’t, then we’ll have to start all over again”.
“If we don’t have a consensus, it will lead to a further loss of grassland ecosystems,” he said.
Professor Hope also called on the government to act more aggressively to prevent the destruction of the grasslands.
The Environment Agency (EA) has said it will review how it deals with the situation.
There have also been calls to remove all barriers to development of the countryside.
But Professor Cook warned that these measures would be costly and could only be “a start” and not a complete solution.
“We must start from scratch and start protecting the UK countryside,” he told the BBC.
“It’s not just about protecting our grasslands, it’s also about protecting the countryside as a whole.”
Professor Cook is the former Director of the Climate Change Research Unit at the University, which was recently renamed the Climate Institute.
In the same year, the EA published its first report on climate change and the UK, and said that it had found that the country’s climate was not getting warmer but it was getting more extreme.
At the time, the UK Government said it was looking at ways to deal with the problem.
This year, however, the Environment Agency said that climate policy was “well advanced” but that it would need to act quickly.
Climate change experts have said that a change in policy could be the difference between a “patchwork” of protection and destruction of natural ecosystems.
Climate change is expected to cause the number of major storms and droughts to increase, with the UK experiencing its worst droughty spell on record.
As well as the floods, extreme weather events, fires and extreme weather, the IPCC said that changes in climate and the way that carbon dioxide is absorbed and released will affect the water cycle and biodiversity.