Ministers believe buildings must to be made to cope with climate extremes because global warming is unstoppable

The government has decided that climate change is unstoppable and will require new building to cope with its onset in terms of heat, floods, high winds and other extremes.

According to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Times, the plans - which will apply to new commercial buildings, housing, infrastructure and retrofitting - are set out in a forthcoming government report, the Climate Change Risk Assessment, set to be published this winter.

The change of thinking, based upon the premise that extreme weather will accompany temperature rises of up to 4C by mid-to-late century, follows the collapse of global talks on a treaty to combat greenhouse gases, with worldwide emissions of CO2 now at 50bn tonnes a year and rising faster than ever.

Professor Robert Watson, chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), told the paper: “A rise approaching 4C would have serious impact and it means we have to work out how to adapt so we can protect evertying from homes to infrastructure,”

Overheating is seen as more of a challenge for cities than the countryside thanks to the so-called ‘urban heat island effect’

Potential strategies set out in the new report include incentivising appropriate development such as green roofs and natural ventilation, possibly through a cut in VAT on the materials needed.