Sir Patrick Vallance says ‘climate change greater threat than Covid’

UK government scientific adviser also said it is crucial temperature rise is limited to 1.5C

Samuel Webb
Tuesday 09 November 2021 13:22
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The most senior scientific adviser to the UK government, Sir Patrick Vallance, has said climate change is a bigger problem than the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told the BBC: “The reason I say it is a bigger problem is because in terms of the overall effect on humanity, if this is not stopped it is a bigger, bigger challenge to the way we live and lives will be lost.

“If the green choice becomes the easy one, more people will be willing to change their behaviour.”

Speaking at Cop26, Sir Patrick said lessons can be learned from the way Covid-19 had to be dealt with, pointing out that science and innovation had to come up with solutions and humanity needed to pull together to take decisions to tackle the crisis.

He also said it is crucial that limiting the temperature rise to 1.5C, a goal which aims to limit the most dangerous impacts of global warming, is not negotiable – although he acknowledged it will be very tough to meet.

Sir Patrick made the comments at Cop26

In a press conference at the climate talks in Glasgow, Sir Patrick said: "It’s crucial that the 1.5C is kept alive. I don’t think this is a negotiable thing. It has to happen."

He pointed to announcements that have been made by countries in the 10 days at the Cop26 conference so far, including on curbing methane emissions, on deforestation and funding for agricultural innovation.

"These are all important steps in the right direction. I hope we will see more over the course of this week.," he said.

"This is tough, 1.5C is really tough, it’s not an easy target."

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