Commonwealth scientists urge stronger climate action

6th April 2018


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  • Science ,
  • Global ,
  • UK - Devolved Governments, Overseas Territories

Author

Victoria Barlow

A coalition of 22 national science academies from around the Commonwealth have signed a statement urging governments to take further action mitigating climate change.

It argues that net-zero greenhouse gas emissions must be achieved in the second half of this century in order to deliver the Paris Agreement, but that current trends suggest the target of limiting global warming to 2˚C will be missed.

The warning comes ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK on 19 April, and it is hoped that the occasion could be a catalyst for stronger global action on climate change.

“This challenge needs to be addressed now, and the efforts required will bring enduring social, environmental and economic benefits and opportunities,” the coalition’s statement says.

“Through concerted action, the Commonwealth has the potential, and the responsibility, to help drive meaningful global efforts and outcomes that protect ourselves, our children and our planet.”

This is the first time that Commonwealth nations have come together to urge their governments to take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

The coalition represents the views of ten of thousands of scientists, including those of the official science academies of Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand, Bangladesh, South Africa and Pakistan, among others.

Sustainability is one of the key themes to be discussed as this month’s CHOGM summit, with particular focus on the resilience of developing and vulnerable countries to climate change.

The coalition’s statement suggests that these countries may need a longer time frame to achieve their Paris targets, as well as additional support and capacity building.

“Recognising different capacities, challenges and priorities, the approaches of each nation will not be the same – but they must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation,” it says.

“The academies of the Commonwealth stand ready to assist by providing sound scientific advice on issues relating to climate change.”

Image credit: iStock

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