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28th Jun, 2022

'Bleak' UN climate change report welcomed by Warwickshire leaders

A MAJOR UN climate change report will hopefully be a ‘wake up call’ says Warwickshire County Council (WCC).

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report – published on Monday (August 9) – has set out the current position of human influenced climate change and the overall condition of the natural world across the globe.

The report found the global surface temperature was 1.09C higher between 2011 and 2020 than between 1850 and 1900, that the past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850, the recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901 and 1971, and that human influence is 90 per cent likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice.

And the report is ‘virtually certain’ hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe.

Although the findings are bleak, Warwickshire County Council hopes the report will be a wake-up call to changes which must be made fast to avert a global ecological catastrophe.

Since declaring a climate change emergency on the hottest day of the year in 2019, Warwickshire County Council has increased its efforts to minimise its carbon footprint. This has included ensuring considerations of climate underpin decision-making, assessing and targeting reductions in carbon emissions from buildings, streetlighting, vehicle fleets, reduced the emissions from streetlights by 72 per cent compared with 2014/15 and buying only 100 per cent Green Energy.

Current and planned projects also include improving building insulation, replacing gas boilers with efficient electric systems and installing solar PV systems.

Travel is also an area in which the council has made efforts to combat carbon emissions. This includes encouraging staff and residents to walk and cycle short journeys, introducing electric vehicle charging points and new school buses which operate on reduced fuel consumption.

The council is also planning to host its own climate change conference, which will take place around the main COP26 event in Glasgow, later this year, to discuss combating climate change and how Coventry and Warwickshire can play their part.

WCC environment spokeswoman Heather Timms said: “The IPCC Report should be a wake-up call to us all. Climate change is not something that is happening somewhere else and to someone else. Climate change is happening right now, and it affects all of us. The only effective response to this is a collective one that must go beyond Governments and public bodies to every one of us. We all have an important role to play in minimising the impact that we are having on our environment.

“There is already a lot of fantastic work going on across Warwickshire to help achieve our target of being net zero by 2030 and minimise the effects that we all have on our fast-changing climate and these efforts are set to increase exponentially over the coming months and years through a variety of projects and initiatives, such as the community projects funded through the Green Shoots Fund and the benefits we will gain through signing-up to the UK100 Pledge.

“It’s very easy to read the IPCC Report and think that there is no hope for the future. However, every indication is that the damage that we have done can be reversed if we act quickly. I look forward to this Council continuing to work with all our partners and residents to strive towards a best Warwickshire that is sustainable now and for future generations.”

Visit www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/#FullReport to read the report.

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