The UK got submerged, an environment secretary was
purged, and UKIP emerged. Climate change was on the fringes of many
important moments this year, even if it remained in the background
of mainstream politics. We revisit this year's five most
significant climate politics stories.
Linking floods and climate change
At the end of 2013 through the first two months of 2014, Britain
was engulfed in exceptionally wet weather, with flood warnings
issued across many parts of the UK.
Initially, despite some
scientific evidence linking climate change to increased
risk of flooding,
nobody seemed willing to make the connection.
Six weeks after the floods first hit the UK, David Cameron
became on of the first to discuss the link when he was quoted
he "strongly suspects" the floods were related to climate
Cameron's statement was followed by a report from the
spelling out the relationship between climate change and
extreme weather. The Met Office's chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo
said "all the available evidence suggests there is a link to
climate change", though the full
reportmade clear just how difficult it is to unravel the
link between weather and climate.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson, the politician
charged with shoring up the UK's flood defences,
remained conspicuously silent on the subject. Paterson's
widely criticised management of the crisis was just the start of an
annus horribilis for the climate skeptic environment secretary,
although on the floods he may deserve some slack - he was
recovering from a detached retina at the time.
The floods may yet have a long term impact on the
government's environmental policy. The relentless rain pushed
reliance on the Thames Barrier, London's principal flood defence,
unprecedented levels, prompting London mayor Boris Johnson to
call for a
review of whether it remains up to the
Waves batter the sea walls in Exmouth, Devon in January 2014.