A SOUTHAMPTON professor has warned that the uncertainty over the scale of climate change is causing a delay for any action to be taken to try and tackle the problem.

Prof. Robert Nicholls, from the University of Southampton argues that badly needed action must be taken as soon as possible, such as upgrading infrastructure, installing early-warning systems, and effective organisations, as well as the costs of reducing risk, such as not building on flood plains.

Professor Nicholls said: “Some impacts of climate change are now inevitable, so it is widely agreed that we must adapt. But selecting and funding adaptation remains a challenge.”

Along with his co-authors of the research article published in Nature Climate Change, the professor suggests weighing up the cost of the necessary work against the benefits of reducing the risk from extreme weather problems, such as flooding.

Alternatively, decision makers can seek the most cost-effective way of maintaining a tolerable level of risk, according to the research.

  • The research article ‘Proportionate adaptation’ is published in Nature Climate Change and was written by members of the the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.