UEA climate change expert warns planet is heating 'faster than expected'
- Credit: Louise Jasper / Annie Tempest
A scientist has warned the "brutal" fires which have battered the country in the past 48 hours are here to stay if urgent action isn't taken.
Dr Charlie Gardner, an associate lecturer in conservation science at the University of Kent, said he "never thought he'd see the day when so much of the UK was on fire".
Dr Gardner, who is currently studying for a masters degree in non-fiction writing at the University of East Anglia (UEA), added: "It's been brutal.
"We're seeing temperatures that are smashing all records.
"This country has simply never been this hot before in all of human history.
The 43-year-old climate change expert, who has studied the subject for the past 17 years, added: "The pace of change we're experiencing has surprised a lot of scientists.
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"It's happening faster than models predicted and in lots of ways as well.
"Storms, heat and flooding is getting worse.
"This is all happening faster than we predicted."
He continued: "But we’ve been talking about this for 40 years.
"Governments agreed to start addressing this issue 30 years ago in 1992 so we can’t say that we’ve been taken by surprise.
"Scientists have been warning about this for a long time and they’ve been ignored."
Dr Gardner is one of a team of scientists touring 20 towns and cities this summer to talk about the climate crisis.
Dr Gardner, who was based in Madagascar for ten years from 2005 while working for the World Wide Fund (WWF), added: "We really do need to wake up as a society.
"Our leaders need to start taking serious action.
"The heatwave and fires might trigger that but I’m not convinced that it will.
"We all have a moral obligation to act because this is our world - this is all we have."