Councillor Julia Conner, portfolio holder for environment at Hull City Council.

Not Just a Heatwave

Sweltering in the recent heatwave has brought home to many of us just how real the change in our climate is.

Here in Hull, we understand only too well the very real risks that climate change hold. Whether it was the floods in 2007, the tidal surge in 2013 or the current heatwave – climate change is there for all to see, and it’s being caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which we, as a society, are generating.

Global temperatures have increased by just 1.10c since the start of the Industrial Revolution, yet we are heading for a 20c increase globally by 2100. Scientists predict that the heatwave we are currently experiencing will become the norm by the 2050s.

The only way we can reduce the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and flooding in the future is to take action now. That means action to reduce our carbon emissions as individuals and as a city. It includes the council, businesses, and across our vital public services. Even if we take action now, it won’t stop these problems completely, as some of the warming is now already baked into the climate. But we can make sure that it doesn’t get worse for us in our old age, and for our children and grandchildren.

It’s great to see so many businesses in the city have made clear commitments to reduce their carbon emissions. The council has committed to being carbon neutral by 2030 and for the city to become net zero by 2045. Action is being taken across the city to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, make sure any new buildings going up use less energy and are adapted to future climate change. Across Hull, people are steadily changing to electric power, installing and using renewable energy. We’re doing what we can to make it easier to walk, cycle or use public transport – although there’s a long way still to go. The council is changing its fleet of vehicles to electric motors.

And thinking back to the flooding in 2007, as a city we’ve come a long way. The Living with Water partnership has made great strides in adapting the city to future flooding with the creation of new aqua greens, storing water in parks and in verges away from residents’ homes, delivering grey and blue solutions on Holderness Drain and increasing pumping and water storage capacity.  

But there is still more we can do as individuals and a community in our city. This heatwave shows how our climate has changed, and we all need to change with it. You can join this effort – after all, it’s our city and our future that’s at stake.

– Councillor Julia Conner, portfolio holder for environment at Hull City Council

Ferens Art Gallery.