The planet is plunging towards environmental collapse - action is needed now

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IPCC says unprecedented change is needed to keep temperatures down

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8th October 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A devastating new report on the impact of man-made climate change on the planet must be a “game changer” for environmental policy in Scotland.

Scientists have warned that the clock is ticking towards catastrophe unless radical, profound and system-changing action is taken.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C.

In a bombshell report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that failure to do this will unleash drought, floods, heatwaves and poverty, affecting millions across the globe.

Report authors say unprecedented change is needed to keep temperatures down.

And while the challenge is global, action starts locally.

In Scotland, campaigners have said the Scottish Parliament and government must face its responsibilities head-on, by commit to zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2050 in a new Climate Change Act.

Instead the Scottish Government’s recent climate change bill sets a target of reducing carbon emissions by half by 2050.

Chris Hegarty, senior adviser at Christian Aid, said: “The world’s scientific community is giving us two messages: one of hope – that we can limit climate change to 1.5C of warming and avoid the worst impacts of climate change; and one of urgency – we need to decarbonise as much as possible, as fast as possible, reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

“Quite simply, this is a game-changer for Scotland’s parliament and government. Many politicians have, understandably, said that Scotland’s response to climate change should take its lead from scientific advice. Now, that advice could not be clearer.”

The Scottish Government’s Climate Bill contains proposed targets which mean almost no extra action between now and 2030 than agreed in the 2009 Climate Act, and increasing the target for 2050 from an 80% reduction to a 90% reduction.

Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said the IPCC report is an unprecedented warning on climate change.

It makes it clear that governments have a narrow and shrinking window for action in which to avert further catastrophic temperature rises. 

It shows that a 1.5C world will be a nightmare but a 2C world would be unthinkable, he said.

He added: “The Scottish Government’s new climate bill fails to deliver the rapid and far-reaching transitions the report says is necessary. The bill doesn’t commit to the action necessary to limit warming to 1.5ºC, it doesn’t deliver on the Paris Agreement, and it doesn’t deliver on Nicola Sturgeon’s promise to ensure that Scotland plays our full part in tackling this global problem.”

Climate activists at the SNP conference handed out newspapers from the year 2040 to attendees.

The double-sided newspaper displayed two alternative sets of Scottish news stories from Monday, 8 October 2040.

One side features positive news resulting from Scotland’s climate leadership, whereas the other portrays stories of negative impacts of the unfolding climate chaos.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said tackling climate change was a "massive priority" for the Scottish Government.

She added: "The actions the Scottish Government has already taken have been described by the United Nations as exemplary. We initially set targets for the reduction of emissions for 2020. We are already ahead of those targets and are toughening up those targets.

"We have just introduced to the Scottish Parliament new legislation that would make Scotland carbon neutral by 2050 and also as soon as the science says it's possible to do, make Scotland a net zero country in terms of emissions - not just carbon emissions but emissions overall."