Whose fault is the weather?

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February 21st 2014

This year's floods in the UK are at least partly driven by the rising tide of humanity.

This year's floods in the UK have affected the lives of thousands through disturbance, disruption and the loss, albeit temporary, of homes and livelihoods.

Britain's weather is never predictable. However, the Met Office's chief scientist has linked this year's exceptional rainfall to climate change, which is linked to carbon emissions from human activity stemming from increasing per capita consumption and rising population levels.

The rising UK population has another effect. Development pressure affects the green belt and results in much building taking place on unsuitable land where the risk of flooding is high.

Other countries are also experiencing extreme weather, from the record snowfalls in Japan to the prolonged drought in California.

Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, commented: "The UK population has risen by 4.5 million since 2001 and is forecast to grow further by around the same amount by 2020. Household numbers will grow at an even faster rate. This growth in population and households will increase carbon emissions, and rising housing costs will push housing development into areas of increased flood risk or exposure to rising sea levels. A sensible response to this year's floods is to seek to stabilise our population and then return it to a sustainable level."

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