The Academy today joined 23 of the UK’s most influential academic institutions in a call to national governments to take action against climate change.
The institutions, representing the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, medicine and engineering, produced the joint statement ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris later this year.
The institutions agree that climate change poses a major threat to the health of the population across the world, and immediate action must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prevent the rise in temperatures they bring.
The statement highlights that actions should stem from scientific evidence and that if we want to limit global warming in this century to 2°C (relative to the pre-industrial period), we must transition, by the second half of the century, to a world in which net carbon dioxide emissions equal zero. This may seem a long way, but the transition would need to happen within 35 to 40 years.
The statement calls for governments, individuals, businesses, local communities and public institutions, to act on delivering the required cuts in emissions. It stresses that during these negotiations, the leaders of the world should not forget to consider strategies to combat the impact brought by climate change on global health.
This message builds on previous a statement from the Academy that called on world leaders to realise the health co-benefits of mitigating climate change. There, we outlined the increasing evidence that mitigation strategies can be developed that, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and associated climate change, have sizeable and near-term benefits to health.