Another, current, reminder from Italy of the massive human distress (and in this case loss of life), material damage, and economic cost of flooding.
And from earlier this year in Paris.
Oxford must be protected, soon.
“At least 13 people have been killed by flash floods in the Aude region of south-western France.
Local authorities say several months’ worth of rain fell in just a few hours overnight …”
We’ve had a dry summer, river flows are low and flooding may seem a long way off. But it’s always a threat as this article on the BBC website today, about severe flooding in Wales, reminds one:
Whether this event is due in some part to climate change may be impossible to know for sure, but there is no doubt that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent across the world. Now is the time to prepare Oxford for that future.
The planning application for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is being scrutinised; if approved Oxford’s flood risk will be reduced. Without it Oxford will remain largely undefended and future generations will rightly ask why something wasn’t done while the opportunity was there.
Nearly 200 countries, developing and developed, and including oil and gas producers, reached agreement at the COP21 conference in Paris to address climate change. This looks like the beginning of the end for fossil fuels.
The deal requires that countries should stem greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of peaking emissions as soon as possible and continuing the reductions as the century progresses. The aim is to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C by 2100, ideally keeping the rise below 1.5°C.
The deal will encourage trillions of dollars to be spent adapting to the effects of climate change – including of course flooding – and developing renewable energy. Developed countries are to send at least $100 billion each year to developing countries beginning in 2020.
The agreement gives countries leeway in determining how to cut their emissions but they must report how they are doing. Progress will be reviewed every five years.
Some elements, like reporting requirements, are legally binding, others, such as the setting of emissions targets for individual countries, are non-binding.
This is potentially a game-changing agreement and has been widely welcomed. Hopefully the catastrophic possibility of irreversible and escalating change can be averted. Nevertheless, climate change is here with us and we can expect to see its effects on weather patterns continuing for the foreseeable future, with increased flooding a prominent result.
Let us hope that the implementation of the Paris agreement is as good as promised.
An interesting article (in December) in the Oxford Mail from Andrew Ingram of the CLA
A series of excellent flood photos taken in December 2012 [Edit: and January 2013].
26 December 2012
Water levels in the area have crept up slowly today and are on the verge of flooding the lowest-lying houses in South Hinksey. The main-line rail track at Kennington is flooded.
24 December 2012
We are again facing possible property flooding in the area, maybe tomorrow, Christmas Day. For some this would be the second time in two months, and the fifth time in 12 years. While EVERY flooded home is serious, homes which are at risk of flooding repeatedly deserve particular priority. Action has been taken in some local areas but others remain at high risk. It would be ideal to have 1 in 100 year protection for everyone, but as that is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, we need smaller schemes now for those worst affected. We cannot wait for jam tomorrow. This needs money. While the government’s recently announced 120 million pounds extra (nationally) for flood relief schemes is welcome, much more is needed, without delay.
29 November 2012
Floods have arrived in Oxford again, for the fourth time in 12 years. About the only good thing about floods is that they make excellent subjects for photos – here are some great ones.