Wednesday, July 28

Head of Independent Sage to Launch International Climate Change Group | Climate change

Several of the world’s leading scientists plan to launch a group of independent experts this week to advise, warn and criticize global policy makers on the climate and nature crises.

The new body has been inspired by Independent sage – the group of British scientists who have held UK ministers and officials accountable for their lack of transparency and mishandling of the Covid pandemic.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group, made up of 14 experts from 10 nations and from all continents, aims to be more international in scope and provide the global public with regular analysis on efforts to address global warming and biodiversity crises.

Led by former UK Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King, the new group will publish monthly updates on the state of the global environment at meetings that will be open to the media and public. These online meetings will be chaired by BBC presenter Ade Adepitan.

“We hope that by putting the experience directly into the public domain, we are reaching into the decision-making processes of policy makers and the financial sector and how they invest in our future,” King told the Observer. “We are not only going to say ‘this is the state of the global climate’, but also what should be the global response of governments and companies … What we do in the next five years will determine the future of humanity for the next millennium. “

The experts, including Fatih Birol, director of the International Energy Agency and Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, also plan to issue statements and respond to journalists’ inquiries about breaking news. time, such as G7 statements, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, new targets set by national governments, actions taken by large corporations, and geoengineering proposals, such as the re-freezing of the Arctic.

Pupils from a school in central London holding banners as they take part in the Global Strike for Climate Justice, organized by Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other groups in September 2019.
Pupils from the school in central London take part in the Global Strike for Climate Justice, organized by Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other groups in September 2019. Photograph: Guy Bell / Rex

King hopes the group will emulate the impact of the Independent Sage, which it created early in the pandemic to counter the UK government’s lack of transparency about Covid. At the time, he said, Sage official, the government’s Emergency Scientific Advisory Group, refused to reveal the minutes of its meetings and even the names of its members. This has subsequently changed as a result of pressure from the independent alternative.

“I was surprised by the response to Independent Sage,” King said. “The 12 members have become media personalities. I hope we get the same level of interest in the climate group. “

The approach will be different. While the Independent Sage has pushed for more transparency in decision-making on a pandemic, the Climate Crisis Advisory Group will push for it to be more urgent. Currently, there is a great deal of data from the IPCC and in academic journals on the long-term risks of global warming, but little in the way of rapid response to new developments.

A draft release statement warns that the Earth may have already passed through several dangerous tipping points, including melting ice sheets, slowing Atlantic circulation, and the dieback of the Amazon rainforest, highlighting the need for velocity. “Only by acting swiftly and firmly can we stabilize climatic conditions, ensure a just transition, and protect biodiversity and vital ecosystem functions for the next generation,” the statement said.

The new body highlights the growing concern among scientists and world bodies that global climate action is too slow. Earlier this year, 126 Nobel laureates declared a planetary emergency. Last month, the International Energy Agency said that the exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year if the world wants to stay within the safe limits of global warming and meet the current goal of net zero emissions. by 2050.

The draft declaration says that ambition must be raised even higher. “Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 are no longer enough to stop the climate crisis and we need to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035 to 2040,” he says.

King said discussions with other panelists had shown how quickly things can change even in the short term. One member, based in the Arctic Circle, told him that temperatures had changed from minus 30 ° C to plus 35 ° C in just a few weeks, causing an unusually rapid thaw.

“This rapid warming is threatening the entire world. This is cascading up and many of us have been very concerned, “he said.

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