Brexit must not distract from UK’s biggest job in 2020: the Glasgow climate summit

(Climate Change News, 13 Sep 2019) Next year’s climate talks are absolutely vital and as hosts the UK could determine whether the talks fail or succeed. The government must start preparing now.

For all the progress delivered by global climate agreements, slow incremental change is not curbing greenhouse gases quickly enough to stave off serious climate impacts.

This makes 2020 an absolutely critical year. It is the year when governments are due, under the agreement they made in Paris in 2015, to review progress and hasten action towards our joint goal of keeping global warming to 1.5C.

The UK will host the UN climate summit in late 2020, an opportunity which gives the UK an absolutely pivotal role in determining humanity’s future on our single, shared planet. The government and new prime minister have flagged their commitment to a zero-carbon Britain by 2050.

To keep the 1.5C target in play, the UK must ensure the summit focusses unwaveringly on a single objective: increasing the speed at which governments cut emissions. Currently we are hurtling towards 3 or 4 degrees of global warming, which will bring huge predictable impacts and equally huge but largely unpredictable risks.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told us last October that governments need to halve global emissions by 2030 and bring them to net zero by mid-century. The 2020 summit has to make concrete progress on both of those objectives. As host nation, the UK has a critical role to play.

There are three things that the UK must get right in order to deliver a path-breaking summit.

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Climate Change News, 13 Sep 2019: Brexit must not distract from UK’s biggest job in 2020: the Glasgow climate summit