By Richard Price

Nearly 14,000 scientists recently warned that Earth’s vital signs are rapidly worsening.

On 9th August, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a press release to introduce the first instalment of its Sixth Assessment Report. Its conclusion is that climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying.”

But do we really need to worry about the climate? The Climate Change Act 2008 sets out emission reduction targets that the UK must comply with legally. The latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) is due to be held in Glasgow between 31st October and 12th November. Won’t these sort the problem? 

Global conferences bring governments together with the aim of accelerating action towards the goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 or 2 per cent. Previous attempts have failed. The targets set are missed, no penalties are incurred. COP26 has been described by experts including David Attenborough as humanity’s last chance to avoid an environmental apocalypse.

But according to Dr Peter Carter, founder of the Climate Emergency Institute, and expert reviewer with the IPCC, the COP26 national emissions targets will lead to a 16.3% rise in emissions rather than the 50% fall which is required. He has described them as “a global death sentence”.

The UK government likes to point out that in June 2019 Britain became the first major economy to legislate for net
zero emissions by 2050 and that it “remains committed to maintaining an ambitious carbon price.” 

There are two problems with that response. First, net zero emissions by 2050 is too late to avoid catastrophic climate change. It is happening at a rate that is surprising scientists and that rate is accelerating. Second, they omit to explain that the target consists of carbon production pricing, which will not work.

Carbon consumption pricing could cut emissions quickly enough, but production pricing is slow and does not – it just moves them elsewhere.

In the meantime the government seems very relaxed about the fact that the 1.5% target is likely to be missed if we carry on as we are.

Our goal at Stop Climate Catastrophe is to gain maximum support from both individuals and organisations for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. Let’s get it through Parliament and into law. Time is running out for climate and for nature. 

• Read further articles on climate change; Local group campaigns in support of Climate Bill or Fudging the Climate Issues

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