The UK is doing better than many countries and has taken welcome steps in the right direction with some ambitious-sounding targets. But the UK is heading worryingly off track even using the Government’s own figures. The Government’s independent adviser, the Climate Change Committee, warns that there has been ‘very little action, very little delivery’, and that ‘it’s hard to discern any comprehensive strategy’. What’s more, even if we deliver on our plans, they fall far short of what’s required to limit warming to 1.5°C.
UN scientists have written an entire report to explain the dangers of going beyond 1.5°C of warming. Effects include an increase in droughts, flooding, tropical cyclones and forest fires; sea levels continuing to rise by metres; an increase in species loss and extinction; coral reefs declining by more than 99%; reduced food availability; and new viruses becoming much more common.
The world is looking to the UK for leadership in its role as the president of this November’s COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow. By passing the CEE Bill and committing to follow the science, the UK could lead by example, encouraging other nations to follow. On the other hand, failure to respond to the many warnings from the Government’s own advisors risks undermining COP26 - offering a convenient excuse to countries like China and India to continue building coal power stations.
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