Thursday, 24 November 2011

How climate change in the UK hits those that consume the least carbon

Two interesting reports out today from the Joseph Rowntree trust looking at the effects of climate change in the UK.

The first report has found that people who emit the least carbon in the UK are most likely to suffer from the consequences of climate change and and identifies who and where is most vulnerable to climate change in the UK.

The distribution of UK household CO2 emissions reveals distinct social patterns in the way that emissions vary across UK households.

It shows that people in the 45–55 age group emit the most carbon, 50 per cent more than that the under- 25s. It also shows that wealthier households have the highest overall emissions, with the top 10% of earners emitting more than twice as much carbon as the bottom 10%.

Travel accounts for much of this variation, with the top 10% of earners emitting 5 times as much carbon from flying than the bottom ten per cent, and 3 times as much from driving. Not surprisingly car ownership is itself associated with increased emissions: multi-car households have on average 3 times the emissions of those with no car.

The differences, though still significant, are smaller for household fuel use, with the top ten per cent of earners emitting 45% more than the bottom 10%.

The second bit of research identifies for the first time the people and places in the UK most likely to be worst affected by climate change.

It found that Urban and coastal areas are by far the most socially vulnerable.

There is a north-south divide in terms of flooding in England, with Yorkshire and Humberside the region most disadvantaged due to the potential for harm and the likelihood of being affected.

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