The heat is on
Although a few people still try and deny it, almost everyone now accepts that the world is getting hotter and that this is because of human activity. When we burn coal, oil or gas; drive our cars, or fly, we are adding to the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere; which is then trapping more of the sun’s heat (the ten warmest years on record have all been since 1990). Glaciers and ice caps are melting, causing the sea level to rise, changing the path of currents in the oceans and affecting weather patterns making more extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves more likely.
And while all countries will be affected it is the world’s poorest countries who will be hit earliest and hardest. Among other things this may mean the creation of millions of “environmental refugees”. Global warming will also do untold damage to richer countries like ours. For example, the floods in Britain in 2000 cost the country over £500 million, whilst the 2003 heatwave (the hottest for 500 years) claimed over 2000 lives.
Global warming is happening now and we have only a very few years to stop it from becoming uncontrollable. The government has taken a global lead through the Climate Change Bill, which makes us the first country in the world to set legally binding carbon reductions, but no one country can solve this on its own.
From Kyoto to Copenhagen - a global solution to a global problem.
Indeed, in many ways we only have six months to take some of the crucial decisions on this issue. In December, Denmark will host a major United Nations conference in Copenhagen. At this conference, a meaningful global agreement must be reached to tackle climate change for when the current Kyoto protocol - governing reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases - expires in 2012.
Climate change is a global threat, and Copenhagen represents our best opportunity yet to tackle it effectively.
I’ll be asking for your support and ideas in the months ahead to make sure the British Government pushes for an ambitious agreement focused on urgent action to limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, beyond which the risks of dangerous climate change become much greater.
To see what the Government is doing in the months leading up to Copenhagen see:
We can tackle climate change. But to do so we need action not just by governments but people around the world. We need popular pressure – pressure on Ministers, on local councillors, on our public services and businesses. Through a mix of technology and changes in our behaviour; through international agreement and action at every level below, from the personal to the national we can make it happen. I’ll be running various climate change campaigns over the next few months to ensure we do our part here in Westminster both locally and in terms of putting pressure on the Government to press for an ambitious national deal and will let you know how you can get involved.
Best wishes, Karen Buck MP