The Facts

  1. The world is now experiencing an environmental and climate emergency. This has been acknowledged by MPs in the House of Commons (1/5/19), Scotland (28/04/19), Wales (29/04/19) and Ireland (10/05/19) together with over 60 local authorities.
  2. The stark warning from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we have just 11 years left to prevent 1.5 degrees warming; warming beyond 1.5 degrees represents a threat to the future of humanity, and even warming limited to that level will wreak havoc upon the livelihoods of countless people across the world. Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree from pre-industrial levels. [1]
  3. Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. The five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts in descending order are (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species. [2]
  4. We are experiencing an emergency as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 [3]; “an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare… [and] … serious damage to the environment … in the United Kingdom”.  An urgent and rapid response is now necessary.
  5. The UK is one of the largest historical contributors to climate change through production and consumption emissions.  It has a significant carbon footprint attached to imported products and despite making up 1% of the global population 2-3% of human induced global warming to date has resulted from GHG emissions in the UK. Every tonne of carbon counts, wherever it is emitted. [4]
  6. The changes required are substantial, but the foundations are already in place. Strong leadership is now required from governments throughout the UK, beginning with the acceptance of the need to ramp up policy effort significantly and a rapid adoption of the Committee on Climate Change recommendations. 4
  7. To address the environment and climate emergency, an emissions target of net-zero greenhouse gases must be set. It is feasible; the technologies and approaches are widely available and well understood. It is also cost-effective; initial costs can be recouped through ongoing savings, and mitigation costs will be far less than adaptation costs in the future. 4

[1] Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2018)

[2] Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES (2019)

[3] Civil Contingencies Act (2004)

[4] Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, Committee on Climate Change (2019)

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