Skip to content
Lara Williams

The UK Can Learn From Bangladesh on Adapting to the Climate Crisis

Poorer countries have been forced to cope with extreme weather events. 

Extreme weather is becoming more common — everywhere.

Extreme weather is becoming more common — everywhere.

Photographer: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images

For anyone who has sweated through record-high temperatures or waded through floodwater, it will come as no surprise that Britain is “strikingly unprepared” for the effects of climate change. That’s the conclusion of a report published Wednesday by the Climate Change Committee, the UK’s independent advisory body on climate policy to the government.

It might feel surprising — or perhaps foreboding — that a rich country like the UK is so unready for the challenge. We typically hear about adaptation — changes in processes and structures to cope with the current and future impact of the climate crisis — in relation to developing nations whose vulnerable populations are bearing the brunt of change, such as extreme weather events becoming more frequent. But Lisa Schipper, professor of developmental geography at the University of Bonn, warns against that framing. “Many people in the global north have been painted a picture in which climate disasters happen in poor countries,” she told me. That’s led to a complacency that we’re perhaps just waking up from.