What are the social, economic and environmental effects of climate change in the UK?

Explore a range of social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change within the UK such as the impact on weather patterns, seasonal changes and changes in industry. The impacts studied should relate to the 21st century.

Potential impacts on the UK
Global warming could have negative impacts on the UK:

  • sea levels could rise, covering low-lying areas (in particular east England), and also increasing coastal erosion in some areas
  • Scottish ski resorts may have to close due to lack of snow
  • droughts and floods could become more likely as extreme weather increases, which could have adverse effects on agriculture
  • greater likelihood of wildfires, threatening settlements and habitats
  • high summer temperatures could result in road tarmac melting and train tracks expanding and buckling
  • summer heat waves could add pressure to healthcare services
  • increased demand for water in hotter summers could put pressure on water supplies
  • severe storms could become more common
  • increased flooding will result in increasing insurance coasts
  • flood defences, such as the Thames Barrier, will need to be upgraded or replaced
  • agricultural land close to the coast will be lost

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However, there could also be some positive impacts from a warmer UK climate:

  • crops such as oranges, grapes and peaches could be grown in the UK
  • winter heating costs could be reduced as winters will be milder
  • accidents on the icy roads in winter could be less likely to occur
  • tourism could increase with rising summer temperatures, providing jobs and boosting the economy
  • flood defences would increase profits in the construction industry
  • new habitats could be created in coastal zones where there is increased flooding