But the Fens isn't the worst place to live as our country heats up. For that - perhaps surprisingly - we have to go inland. Birmingham is one of England's most congested cities with 13 million journeys every year. It also has the worst air pollution outside London. Big cities like Birmingham fare worse during climate change because of what's called "the urban heat island effect", as David Viner explains: "Buildings absorb the heat of the sun so they're always hotter at night. 2007 is already predicted to be the hottest on record. "And global warming means by the end of the century it could be up to 4 degrees C hotter in Birmingham. "More air condition uses more energy and brings more pollution. It's a vicious cycle." Midlanders can expect drier summers and wetter winters. The centre of England is also more susceptible to freak storms such as the tornado which hit the city in 2004.Since the contributors to this blog all work in Birmingham University naturally we were shocked and dismayed by Doctor Viner's prediction. But upon reflection we think that his predictions do not stand up to scrutiny. Instead we believe that adjustments in land prices and wage rates will equalise the net benefits of different locations throughout the United Kingdom. We also suspect that whilst some changes in climate might reduce human welfare others might increase it. In particular, it could be that some people in Birmingham might actually prefer warmer weather throughout the year. We realise of course that it is politically incorrect to suggest that climate change has advantages as well as advantages but we do not fear controversy.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Birmingham: Worst City in the UK by 2099
According to Dr. David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia global warming will have a catastrophic effect on Birmingham making it the worst place to live in the country by the end of the century. These claims were made on the BBC's Inside Out series. The BBC website states: