Politicians are asleep on the job - scientists issue climate wake-up call
Today’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been called another wake-up call. I don’t know how many more alarm bells politicians need. It’s worse than trying to wake up a teenager for school in the morning.
The long and short of it is we need to cut carbon pollution fast if we want to avoid dangerous climate change and much more extreme weather. This means leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground and not searching for more through using methods such as fracking.
The perfect response to this report would be for the Coalition Government to set a target in the Energy Bill in Parliament to decarbonise our electricity by 2030. At the moment the Government is fast asleep when it comes to climate change, we’re going to have to shout loud to wake them up.
Here are the main points it makes, and a summary is here:
- Humans are warming the planet – scientists are 95-100% certain, which is the same certainty as smoking causing cancer
- We are causing extreme weather now, and will in the future - more frequent hot and fewer cold temperature extremes, heat waves will occur with a higher frequency for longer, more intense and frequent extreme rainfall, resulting in flooding.
- Ice sheets are melting - Over the last two decades the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass and glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide. At temperature increases between one and four degrees, the Greenland ice sheet could melt irreversibly, with seven meters of sea level rise over following millennia.
- Temperatures could increase by five degrees centigrade by 2100 – this is the top end of estimates, and would require us to continue our current path of increasing emissions. Work by Friends of the Earth – consistent with the IPCC report – shows keeping below two degrees warming would require cuts buy the UK, EU and USA of around 80-90 per cent by 2030.
The way forward
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