PM: Wake up to red alert on climate change crisis

Climate change: Patrick Christys on people who 'care' about issue

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The Prime Minister urged world leaders to follow Britain’s stance in committing to Net Zero – eliminating or off-setting all greenhouse gas emissions – by 2050 Mr Johnson described the next decade as “pivotal” in securing the planet’s future. The PM said: “Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet. “We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline.

“The UK is leading the way, de-carbonising our economy faster than any country in the G20 over the last two decades.

“I hope today’s report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said it is “unequivocal” that man is changing the climate.

Some rapid changes to the climate already under way are “unprecedented” in hundreds of thousands of years.

The alarming report said that no corner of the planet is escaping climate change because it is occurring “in every region”.

The IPCC warned that without “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting temperature rises to safe levels will be “beyond reach”.

That will leave the world exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme weather, from floods to droughts plus melting ice packs, rising sea-levels and storms.

The report said human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1C of the planet’s 1.2C warming since about 1850.

And it predicted that within 20 years the planet is likely to reach or exceed 1.5C of warming – the 2015 Paris Agreement target beyond which the effects of climate change become increasingly dangerous.

The IPCC report, written by hundreds of top scientists and based on 14,000 scientific publications, has been approved by all the world’s 195 governments.

The Daily Express Green Britain Needs You campaign is highlighting the many threats to the environment.

In recent days, the Express has been to the global warming frontline in Iceland to show retreating glaciers and threats to wildlife. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the report was a “code red for humanity”.

Mr Guterres said: “The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable – greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.

“Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many changes becoming irreversible.

“The internationally agreed threshold of 1.5C is perilously close.”

But the report also offered hope, saying that “strong and sustained reductions” in emissions would limit climate change.

Reaching global Net Zero by 2050 could see temperatures stabilise within as little as 20 years.

Britain is committed to achieving this target, but critics argue that the plans are insufficiently detailed and are bedevilled by rows over costs.

The World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said: “The atmosphere has been exposed to doping. The harsh reality of climate change is playing out in real time before our very eyes. It is a foretaste of what faces future generations.

“The extreme heat we have witnessed in 2021 bears all the hallmarks of human-induced climate change.

“British Columbia in Canada recorded an incredible temperature of 121F – breaking all previous records – as part of an intense and extensive heatwave in North America.

“Fires in North America stoked by heat and drought have sent plumes of smoke across the Atlantic. In recent days, we have seen devastating fires in Turkey and Greece amid an intense and long-lasting heatwave in the Mediterranean.

“Siberia, a region traditionally associated with permafrost, has once again seen huge wildfires after exceptional heatwaves, fires and low Arctic sea ice in 2020.

“In the month of July alone, up to two months worth of rainfall fell in two days in Germany. Parts of the central Chinese province of Henan received more accumulated rainfall in the space of four days than the annual average. This resulted in hundreds of casualties.”

The report is the latest in a series by the IPCC since 1990.

It stated: “Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds of years.”

Among the report’s alarming highlights were:

• The recent rate of warming is unprecedented in at least 2,000 years.

• Each of the last four decades has successively been the warmest since 1800.

• Levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere are at the highest for at least two million years.

• Sea levels have risen at the fastest rate in at least 3,000 years.

• Arctic sea ice is at its lowest level in 1,000 years.

• The retreat of glaciers since 1950 is unprecedented in 2,000 years.

The report said rainfall is ­becoming more intense while extreme coastal flooding that used to occur once in a century could happen every year by 2100.

Inger Andersen, the head of the UN Environment Programme, said the onus is on the world’s richest, most industrialised countries – including the US, China and the UK – to lead the world.

She said: “G20 countries bear a special responsibility. They are responsible for around 80 per cent of global emissions.”

Connor Schwartz, climate lead at Friends of the Earth, said: “Loud wake-up calls have been sounding for years but world leaders have chronically over-slept, and people are paying the price with their lives. If we want a habitable planet, the window is just about open.”

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