The scientific evidence for man-made climate change is incontrovertible. The last five years have been the hottest on record and there is a greater than even chance that 2020 will be the hottest.1 Last year was marked by disaster caused by more frequent and extreme weather events brought about by climate change. A notable example was the Australian wildfires, set off by a record heatwave, which destroyed 44,400 square miles of bushland and forest and led to the killing or displacement of an estimated 3 billion animals.2 Warming has also led to unprecedented melting of ice and snow at the north and south poles. Sea level rise will mean coastal communities are much more exposed to flooding and extreme storms, leading many to migrate inland, putting pressure on infrastructure and resources. And with greater carbon dioxide in the oceans comes ocean acidification, degradation of marine ecosystems and reduction in marine biodiversity. Research suggests that ‘tipping points’ such as the melting of huge ice sheets or the loss of the Amazon rainforest are much more likely to occur than previously thought.3
1Based on NASA data (2020).
2‘Australia’s 2019-2020 Bushfires: The Wildlife Toll’, WWF (2020).
3‘Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against’, Lenton et al (2019).