Climate Change

Evidence shows that our climate is already changing. Some changes are now inevitable and more extreme changes will become unavoidable unless we drastically reduce our carbon emissions. Climate projections show that London will experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers.

Along with the gradual change in overall climate, we expect to see more frequent and intense episodes of extreme weather, meaning that we will need to consider adapting our buildings, communities and lifestyles to prepare for more frequent:




Improving our ability to cope with the consequences of climate change is known as “adaptation.” This includes actions such as installing green space to soak up surface water from intense rain, shading our buildings so they remain cool during the summer, and reducing our water use to prevent drought.

Adapting to climate change is a process. It needs to be built into our normal planning, decision-making, and risk management procedures, whether in business, government or service design.

Considering adaptation alongside carbon reduction (“mitigation”) is necessary to make sure that mitigation measures don’t make us less resilient to future climate and we avoid making costly mistakes. An integrated approach to climate change ensures that sustainable adaptation decisions can be made at the right time to maximise the benefits and minimise costs to services and people. Proactive adaptation is much cheaper than retrospective actions and disaster recovery.

We must ensure we are ready for our changing climate today and tomorrow.

Recent extreme weather events in the UK

Extreme weather isn’t just a problem for the future: it’s something that affects us already. If we look back over the last 18 years we can see extreme weather incidents have affected us almost every year. In fact, considering the frequency of extreme weather events, what has previously been considered “extreme” may now be the new normal.


2000 – flooding

2001 – flooding

2003 – heatwave

2005 – flooding

2006 – drought

2006 – heatwave

2007 – flooding

2008 – flooding

2008 – snow and ice

2009 – snow and ice

2009 – flooding

2010 – flooding

2010 – snow and ice

2011 – warm spring

2011 – warm autumn

2012 – drought

2012 – wet summer

2013 – snow and ice

2013 heatwave

2014 flooding

2015 – flooding

2015 – heatwave

2016 – heatwave

2017 – heatwave

2018 – snow and ice

2018 – heatwave


Global events

The impacts of extreme weather events are far-reaching, and they are felt particularly acutely in multicultural cities such as London, where many residents come from other parts of the world. LCCP recognises that global extreme weather events can impact on the wellbeing of Londoners and their families in a number of ways.

Extreme weather events and changes in climate around the world also have an impact on London’s financial wellbeing through impacts to supply chains and stock prices.

Recent examples include:

  • 2018 – Summer heat across the northern hemisphere causes a loss of profits for tourism operators as heat keeps people from booking trips abroad. In the UK, food prices expected to rise as a result of the heat, after the extreme cold of the winter.
  • 2016 – ABI estimates that insurers will pay £1.3 billion in claims following a series of storms and heavy rainfall in a record wet winter.
  • 2011 – Hard Drive shortage impacts on computer manufacture and prices following the flooding in Thailand
  • 2011 – Cotton production is damaged causing a 15% rise in prices within a month after flooding in Pakistan
  • 2010 – Wheat prices rise by 50% within two months after severe drought and ensuing wildfires in Russia
  • 2007/8 – Crop shortfalls from natural disasters was one of the contributing factors in the Global Food Crisis, which saw drastic increases in food prices
  • 2003 – The heatwave in Europe caused major agricultural damages, totalling €13 billion in the European Union. This included a 10-20% decrease in wheat production in the UK and France

To see how the climate is changing on a global scale, you can visit the Met Office website.