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IPCC Report on Climate Change: Why we must all respond, by Prof. Claire Heffernan

Written by Charine John

August 10, 2021

The UN IPCC report on Climate Change is unequivocal. The time to act is now. LIDC Director, Professor Claire Heffernan, issued the following response:

The United Nations warned on 9 August that global warming is dangerously close to being out of control with humans beings ‘unequivocally’ to blame. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could not be more stark.

A desolate landscape of barren trees in the midst of a huge garbage dumping point near the canal near Sahiwal Jhal Road, India. This has started spreading pollution in the area from the garbage point. Envelopes that do not rot for five hundred years are causing a lot of pollutionWe have been repeatedly warned that a rise of 1.5C is the most that humanity could cope with without suffering widespread economic and social upheaval. The current rise of 1.1C is already unleashing catastrophic weather events. Greenhouse gas levels are now high enough to guarantee disruption for decades if not centuries, prompting U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to describe the report as a ‘code red for humanity’. ‘The alarm bells are deafening’ says Guterres, ‘this report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.’

The U.N. COP26 climate conference takes place in November in Scotland, but governments do not need to wait until then to act. As activist Greta Thunberg says ‘What are they waiting for?’ Thunberg has called for the public and media to put ‘massive’ pressure on governments. I couldn’t agree more. LIDC is also calling for action to be taken so that delegates from the global south are able to attend. Many are from countries where Covid-19 vaccine programmes are yet to be rolled out. This must be addressed. In particular, indigenous communities must not only be represented but must be actively included. We cannot have a repeat of the situation where indigenous representatives feel so excluded that they have to set up their own conference, as happened with the recent UN food policy summit.

Here at LIDC we see progress towards attainment of the SDGs as progress towards the linked triumverate of poverty, climate change and inequality. The hollow goal of ‘economic prosperity’ at the expense of the planet itself must stop. This is one fight that we cannot afford to lose.

Tweet your response to @cheffernan_LIDC and @LIDC_UK

Photo: Matt Palmer and Muhammad Numan, Unsplash

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