Saturday, 8 November 2008

For some, the penny has finally dropped!

I am a member of our village Parish Council and as such I recently attended an emergency planning conference. Local (Parish) Emergency Plans were started just after WW2 when the concern was a Russian nuclear attack. The parish councillors who were involved in the plan were supplied with a short- wave radio, built up a store of food, and, assuming they survived, had to list where local facilities were for storing and disposing of any victims and looking after the injured living etc. It was then decided to add the concern of disaster (plane crash whatever) to the emergencies list and then, as the usefulness of the Parish Emergency Groups became apparent and the cold war was over, the concern of natural disasters took their place.

Two of the speakers described how their parishes had dealt with major floods, not applicable to the major part of our parish which is a few hundred feet above sea level, and then we had a Met Office (see HERE) scientist to give a talk, the site will also link to weather in other countries as well. She gave for many a new insight into emergency plans when she said that we now had to plan for the safety of our vulnerable when we had Global Warming related extremes of weather, giving, as an example, the European heat-wave of 2003, see HERE for more detail. When this occurred there were around 20,000 heat wave related deaths in Europe including 3,000 in Paris alone where the death rate increased by 142%! These summer temperature events will, we were told, be the norm by 2040, and by 2060 will be considered cool. What she did not touch on was what would happen further south of the UK. In Africa, in South America, in Australia Malaysia, Indonesia, India and so on, what, I thought, would happen to the people there when the temperatures increased?

The good point of her talk was the rapt silence that she was listened to, because for many of my climate change sceptic fellow councillors, the penny, at has last has dropped... it’s for real...

1 comment:

Anne said...

Yes Peter it is for real and now that the penny is dropping at that level, fear is setting in. We deliberately chose a home that is old with solid walls and quite dark inside. We studied the maps to find out what the risk of flooding was and although flooding will hit parts of our parish it will not reach us here. I guess we are building ourselves some kind of ark. We invest in items that will last and will fulfill our basic needs. We feel we will be able to reach out when the time comes.