Efforts to depoliticise climate change are welcome

There are those who claim climate change can somehow be seen as a political position

Share

To the rational majority, climate change is not an article of faith but an unwelcome statement of fact. Not because of the anecdotal evidence of unprecedented “weather events” – Australian heatwaves, Philippines typhoons, European flooding – battering the globe with steadily increasing regularity. Rather, because scientific study after scientific study has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that not only is the Earth’s temperature rising, but those alterations are almost certainly the result of human activities. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded last year that it is now as sure that we are behind global warming as it is that cigarettes cause cancer.

Yet still there are those who claim climate change can somehow be seen as a political position, instead of the demonstrably measurable reality that it is. And even among policymakers who do not quibble with the evidence, there is a reluctance to face up to the expensive, unpopular choices that must be made to solve the problem. It is against such a backdrop that two of the world’s most august scientific institutions – the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society in London – today set out their summation of the proof that climate change exists and that human activities are the cause. The motivation could not be more explicit. “We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken,” Sir Paul Nurse, the President of the Royal Society, says. “It is now time for the public debate to move forward.”

How right he is. Yes, there are still any number of questions as to the scale and implications of a rising global temperature. But what is irrefutable is that atmospheric carbon dioxide in now at levels not seen for 800,000 years and, regardless of the recent pause, temperatures have been on the up since the mid-19th century. The politicisation of climate change is one of the more dangerous developments of recent years, with the potential to put a real check on our ability to tackle perhaps the trickiest problem that the human race has ever faced. It can only be hoped that the National Academy and the Royal Society can help tip the balance back towards science.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Mentor for people who have offended

This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...

Welsh Speaking German Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Full time WLM German Supply T...

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher - French

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Modern Foreign Language Teach...

RE/Humanities, Sittingbourne School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently seek an experienced ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Why Facebook won't be feeling threatened by Ello...yet

Ed Rex
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Cameron's unexpected tax pledges give the Tories home advantage

Andrew Grice
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?