UK’s leading institutions call upon nations to take immediate action to tackle climate change

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A number of leading institutions across the UK have come together calling upon governments of various nations to take immediate action against climate change by seizing the opportunity at climate talks in Paris in December to negotiate an agreement based on the latest scientific evidence.

Twenty four institutions from the UK have published a joint communiqué appealing government across the globe to take actions based on scientific evidence if we are to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming in this century to 2°C relative to the pre-industrial period. The joint appeal calls for transition to a zero-carbon world as early as the second half of the century.

The organisations from diverse backgrounds including sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, medicine and engineering have come together for the first time for a single cause asking governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically.

Climate change is already with us and even if greenhouse gases were drastically reduced in the near future, significant climate change will occur for many decades, said Sir John Beddington HonFREng, CMG, FRS, President of the Zoological Society of London.

Lord Stern of Brentford Kt, FBA, FRS, President of the British Academy, said: “This statement demonstrates the strength of the agreement among the UK’s research institutions about the risks created by rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

Lord Stern called upon the Prime Minister of UK and the rest of his Government to show leadership on climate change issue, by implementing effective domestic policies to tackle climate change and to support efforts overseas, including a strong international agreement in Paris at the end of this year. He said that though the issue of climate change is a responsibility for the whole world, the UK has a special position at the forefront of international efforts.

The joint appeal calls upon governments to demonstrate leadership by recognising the risks that climate change poses, embracing appropriate policy and technological responses, and seizing the opportunities of low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.

A rise of 2°C above pre-industrial levels would lead to further increased risk from extreme weather and would place more ecosystems and cultures in significant danger. At or above 4°C, the risks include substantial species extinction, global and regional food insecurity, and fundamental changes to human activities that today are taken for granted, the joint communiqué read.

Responding to the challenge will require deploying the full breadth of human talent and invention. Creative policy interventions and novel technological solutions need to be fostered and applied. This will require a sustained commitment to research, development, entrepreneurship, education, public engagement, training and skills, it read further.

You can find the full communiqué here.