The UK is coping now, but it is near its limits in some key sectors and could be pushed over the edge by climate change, the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) has said.
The ASC said there is particular vulnerability around water supply and flooding.
In the water sector, while only 8% of resource zones in England are currently at risk of a supply shortfall in a severe drought, this could increase to around 45% by 2035 without additional investment.
And the UK’s vulnerability to climate change is potentially increasing as a result of patterns of building development in some areas and demographic trends.
For example, in almost all of the nine local authorities studied, development in the floodplain had increased, and four of them the rate of development was higher than across the locality as a whole.
The ASC has set out a series of actions, which if implemented more widely could reduce the costs of climate change and save people money, including measures to improve water efficiency, flood protection and summer cooling in buildings.
The recommendations set out to Government today were published in the ASC’s second progress report, Adapting to climate change in the UK: measuring progress.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We must adapt and build resilience to face the challenge of climate change, as the ASC’s second assessment makes clear.
“But our response cannot be business as usual. That’s why the government is developing the National Adaptation Programme to help businesses and communities minimise the risks.”