The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is preparing to cut the number of civil servants working on climate adaptation from over 30 officials to just six, prompting outrage from green groups who have today accused the government of failing to take adequate steps to protect the UK from worsening climate impacts.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Friends of the Earth revealed that over the past three years the number of civil servants working on Defra's climate adaptation activity has fallen from equivalent to 38 full-time staff in 2009/10 to 32.5 full-time positions in 2011/12.
However, with the department having published its Climate Change Risk Assessment report in January 2012 and with the government's National Adaptation Programme due for publication this summer, ministers are preparing to cut the number of staff working on the department's overarching Adapting to Climate Change programme to just six full-time employees.
Speaking at a lecture hosted by Friends of the Earth last night, former UK Special Representative for Climate Change John Ashton accused the government of scoring an "own goal" by cutting the number of staff dedicated to climate adaptation work when a "major new report that Defra has itself commissioned warns of growing climate disruption in our countryside".
The best solution would, of course, be to get rid also of the remaining six full-time bureaucrats dealing with the "Adapting to Climate Change programme", as well as a few hundred of other global warming officials among Defra's staff of 10,000 bureaucrats.
And by the way, why is Defra (the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) spreading this false information on its webpage?:
The world’s climate and weather patterns are changing. Global temperatures are rising, causing more extreme weather events, like flooding and heatwaves.