UK political parties must prioritise climate change say scientist community

A UK political party that doesn’t make climate change a priority will put the “prosperity and well-being of the British people at severe risk”, say some of the UK’s top scientists.

An open letter, signed by 408 members of the UK’s climate science community, says that all political parties should commit to an “ambitious” programme of climate policies.

If they fail to do so, then the parties do not deserve votes by the public, they say.

The letter says: “We call on you to pledge to an ambitious programme of climate policies that accelerate action, in the UK and across the world, both to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to increase resilience to those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided.

“Without such a programme, the UK will be shirking its international responsibilities and will be losing the opportunity to promote prosperity and peace in the UK and around the globe.”

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The letter urges the party leaders to take specific measures, including speeding up action to help the UK adapt to climate change; increasing funding for developing countries; and leading by example on climate change on the international stage.

The letter also highlights how the UK is already being impacted by global warming, pointing to the example of the 2022 summer heatwave, resulting in thousands of excess deaths and a detrimental impact on agricultural yields.

Signaturies of the letter include professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the founding director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment and professor Sir David King who was the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser between 2000 and 2007.

The UK was the first major economy to set a net zero emissions target but critics have argued that it has lost momentum amid changes to policies including a delay to the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles.

Climate crisisEnergyNature and the environmentNet zeroPolicySocial sustainability

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