What are the impacts of climate change?

‘The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen.’ – IPCC, 2013

“Forget about making poverty history. Climate change will make poverty permanent.” Nazmul Chowdhury


  • The July 2019 global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average was the highest for July since global records began in 1880 at 0.95°C (1.71°F) above the 20th century average. Climatologically, July is the globe's warmest month of the year. With July 2019 the warmest July on record, at least nominally, this resulted in the warmest month on record for the globe. (NOAA Aug' 2019)
  • Nine of the 10 warmest Julys have occurred since 2005, with the last five years (2015–2019) ranking among the five warmest Julys on record.  
  • The average annual number of weather-related natural disasters has more than tripled since 1960.
  • The World Health Organisation estimates that 150,000 people already die each year as a result of climate change, mostly in developing countries.
  • Migration is rising as people move to find places where food production and water supplies are reliable. This leads to increased conflict, nationalist politics, and extremist activity.
  • It could become hard to produce enough food for everyone. Whilst central England has a growing season one month longer than in 1900, much larger areas of the world are finding their growing season shortened and disrupted by unpredictable weather.
  • 20-30% of species of animal could become extinct or in decline.
  • a wide range of health impacts - direct and indirect : climate change would cause increased heat-related mortality and morbidity, decreased cold-related mortality in temperate countries, greater frequency of infectious and vector-borne disease epidemics following floods and storms, and substantial health effects following population displacement from sea level rise and increased storm activity. (World Health Organisation)


  • Summer heatwaves are occurring more frequently and in winter there are fewer frosts.
  • In 2003 a heatwave in Europe was probably the hottest the continent has seen for at least 500 years.
    Between 4th and 13th August that year, over 2000 people in the UK died as a result of the heat.
  • Average sea level around the UK is now around 10cm higher than it was in 1900.

If all the land ice in the world melted the British Isles would look like this. Can you see where Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are on this map?

The East Midlands could see an increase in average temperatures of more than 2°C by 2050, a 14% increase in winter precipitation and a 16% decrease in summer precipitation.

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are already suffering more frequent flooding, with bad floods in November 2000 and June 2007. The two counties have also suffered a number of heat waves and severe winters during the last ten years. The two counties are directly susceptible to all the main impacts of climate that will be experienced nationally apart from rising sea levels.

It’s not all bad news; scientists believe that we if we can limit the rise in average global temperature to less than 2°C we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In 2015, 195 governments committed to trying to keep the rise to less than 1.5°C. Locally, much is happening to try to tackle climate change.