Scottish Government must act on UN climate change report
08 October 2018
As science on climate change becomes stronger, a new report released today (8th October 2018) by the UN’s scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays bare the severe lack of action by the world community and the worrying rate at which our climate is changing.
The report states that unless concerted and urgent efforts are made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide the average global temperature is on track to increase by 1.5°C by the 2030s or 2040s.
In 2015, all nations committed, through the Paris Agreement, to keep global temperature rise “well below 2°C”, and to “pursue efforts” to limit that rise to 1.5°C.
Furthermore, scientists spell out the risk of reaching a tipping point if global temperatures continue to rise beyond 1.5°C, where changes would accelerate and risks posed to people and the planet would increase significantly.
As well as rising sea levels, for some ecosystems, such as the world’s coral reefs, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is likely to be critical. At a 2°C increase, 99%, or virtually all, coral reefs are likely to be severely damaged or destroyed, but with global temperatures limited to an increase of 1.5°C, 30% could be saved.
To have a fighting chance of curbing drastic climate change the world needs to work towards a maximum temperature rise of no more than 1.5°C. This, scientists say, is still possible but only through a united shift from fossil fuels with coordinated efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Commenting on the latest findings, Gail Wilson, Campaigns Manager of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said. “This report really is a game changer. It’s the strongest scientific report yet about what global emissions are doing, and will do, to our planet and all that depend on it. The report puts into words what so many people have said for a long time – climate change and its impacts are not being taken seriously enough. Politicians are burying their heads in the sand and not acting fast enough.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to the planet and everyone that lives here. Unless governments urgently take much more concrete action to reduce emissions, we will soon be in a scenario where it is simply too late”
Gail Wilson added: “Scotland’s politicians must listen to what climate science is telling us. I urge the Scottish Government to change tack, to commit to a net zero emissions target by 2050 and put in place tangible steps that will get us there.”
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is a diverse coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change, including faith, international development and environment organisations, trade and student unions and community groups.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments, dedicated to the task of providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts. Link to report: http://ipcc.ch/report/sr15.
- The new Scottish Climate Change Bill was published at the end of May 2018 and is currently being considered by MSPs at Holyrood.
- Over 19,000 people joined with SCCS to respond to the Scottish Government's consultation on this Bill urging Government to commit to a 77% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.
- The Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015 and obliges all nations to keep the climate change temperature rise “well below 2 degrees” centigrade and “pursue efforts” to limit that rise to 1.5 degrees.
- Net zero emissions is when emissions have reduced to the absolute minimum and where carbon is absorbed by trees, peatlands etc balancing out any residual emissions.
- There is momentum building in New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Iceland towards net zero greenhouse emissions targets for 2050 or earlier. The European Parliament has also recommended that the EU reaches net zero by 2050.