As demonstrators go to London for the annual Climate March(1), and politicians, scientists and campaigners prepare to go to Copenhagen for crucial Climate Change talks, Steve Dawe considers the importance of achieving agreement to deal with human-induced Climate Change:
“The scientific and political consensus about the need to deal with human-induced Climate Change has never been wider than today(2). Kent and Medway are significantly exposed to the risk of wetter winters – like this year – and hotter summers, like 2003. Climate Change means more moisture is held in the atmosphere, creating a likelihood of more extreme weather events and increasing temperatures like the November we have had with temperatures 4 degrees C above normal on average. Kent’s coastline and estuaries are very vulnerable to significant changes unless cuts of about 90% in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved by 2050. But Kent County Council’s Local Transport Plan, shared with Medway, does not even propose measures to cut traffic year on year in order to cut emissions.
“Kent’s older growth forests play a part in storing carbon dioxide. However, if stressed by summer droughts, we could see a major loss of trees throughout Europe during the next few decades (3). Despite this, only 14 out of 27 EU countries are likely to meet their current emissions targets (4). EU leaders have agreed the major step of seeking cuts in the two fastest growing sectors of greenhouse gas emissions, aviation and shipping, but so far without resources to achieve this. We have to do better.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Steve Dawe is a former Lecturer in Environmental Policy and a current Lecturer in Public Policy. Contact address as above. For monthly ezine KENT GREEN NEWS, subscribe through website at www.kentgreenparty.org
Notes: 1. 12.00 noon for a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. Further details at: http://www.campaigncc.org/ Speakers will include Michael Meacher MP (Lab), Simon Hughes MP (Lib Dem), John McDonnell MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party), Maria Souverin (Bolivian ambassador), John Stewart (HACAN - campaign against Heathrow 3rd runway), Chris Baugh (PCS - Public and Commercial Services Union) and Ellie Hopkins from the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC).
2. The US and China have agreed to significant cuts in emissions; the UK Met Office, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other reputable scientific bodies are agreed deep cuts in emissions are needed. Political leaders of the Green, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru are all agreed that Climate Change requires action and resources.
3. Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat, Sweden: http://www.airclim.org/reports/index.php
4. Acid News - Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat, Sweden, December 2009.