The world is ill-prepared for the risks posed by a changing climate, according to a report by a group of influential global scientific experts.
The influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week concluded that risk from a changing climate comes from a lack of preparedness and exposure to hazards and the hazards themselves.
It said either component could be a target for actions and investment to decrease risk.
“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group II, which prepared the report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.
“In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”
The report highlights that economic losses due to extreme weather events have increased globally.
Flooding, for example, can have major economic costs, in term of impacts through destruction of infrastructure and disruption and adaptation, through construction and defence work, it says.
Energy secretary Ed Davey said: “The science has spoken. Left unchecked, climate change will impact on many aspects of our society, with far reaching consequences to human health, global food security and economic development.
“The recent flooding in the UK is a testament to the devastation that climate change could bring to our daily lives.
“This evidence strengthens the case for early action in the UK and around the world to lessen the significant risks posed by climate change. We cannot afford to wait.”
Two hundred and forty three lead authors and 66 review editors from 70 countries were involved in preparing the report.