|Storms batter the UK, disrupting Christmas travel. Photo source: BBC.
By Anders Lorenzen
December has been, in many ways, an abnormal weather month in Denmark and the United Kingdom. A relatively mild month battered by heavy wind gales and rain, resulting in flooding. In Denmark, the average temperature for the month is set to be a lot warmer than usual.
In any other month it might have been more tolerable, but the harsh weather that is more of an autumn weather phenomenon, arrived at probably the busiest time of the year; the Christmas travel period. It was only in mid December that we wrote about the storm that devastated large parts of Denmark and the UK.
Maybe slightly ironically, just as people were gearing up for overconsumption and increasing their carbon budget by travelling far and wide to celebrate Christmas and lighting up their homes inside and outside with various electrical Christmas decorations, weather created by the fact we’re burning more fossils fuels than ever stopped some from doing these things.
People were left stranded in airports, train and coach stations, some only faced delays but others had their travel plans cancelled altogether, while people who had decided to stay at home also had their plans disrupted in terms of flooding in their homes and other damages caused by flooding and gales. In the UK 100,000 households were left without power.
The UK government have, in austerity cuts, drastically reduced what was available to spend on flood defences. On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron, visited a village in the Kent area south of London, which had been badly hit by the floods. Locals reacted angrily, saying that they had been left behind with no help being given by authorities and, according to angry villagers, 100 properties had to be abandoned on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day due to flooding.
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth’s Climate Campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:
“With wild weather and floods causing travel chaos, it’s appalling that the
Government is cutting staff from the Environment Agency who are working to
defend the country from flooding. What’s more, the Coalition’s new flood insurance plans fail to consider how climate change will make flooding worse in future.
In Denmark people were hit considerably less than in the UK, partly due to that when the storm arrived in Denmark, it had settled down a bit, and partly due to the infrastructure being better prepared for flooding and powerful storms. Danish meteorologists are saying that December has been incredibly warm, and the second warmest December month since records began in 1874.
Sub edited by Charlotte Paton
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