Climate crisis equal to nuclear arms threat

Emily Beament
Friday 29 May 2009 00:00
Comments

Climate change poses as great a threat to the world as the nuclear arms race, scientists warned yesterday as they called on leaders to take urgent action to tackle the problem.

The scientists and Nobel laureates attending a three-day conference hosted by St James's Palace drew up a memorandum calling for global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2015. The memorandum from the experts, who included the US energy secretary Steven Chu, said a new global deal on emissions expected at the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December was urgently needed.

It must undertake to cut greenhouse gases by half by 2050, the document urged. And while developed countries should take the lead, with cuts of 25 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020, every nation must act, on the "firm assumption that all others will also act".

Professor Hans Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said that with "probably the biggest concentration of brains on the planet" drawing up the memorandum, it could be more vital than many mass protests on climate change. "We are in a crisis as deep as the times of the arms race," he added.

The memorandum from the conference said that without protecting tropical forests, there was no solution to tackling climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that the impacts of climate change could cause havoc in many of the poorest places in the world.

The experts' memorandum called for resources being used to aid economic recovery to put the world on to a path towards a low-carbon economy.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in