From Inside Climate News (Georgina Gustin):
As some of the world’s biggest polluters resist efforts to address climate change—most glaringly, the United States—thousands of scientists from countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations say their governments need to take bolder steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
On Monday, the national science academies of 22 Commonwealth countries, including from the UK, Canada, India and Australia, issued a “Consensus Statement on Climate Change,” declaring that the “Commonwealth has the potential, and the responsibility, to help drive meaningful global efforts and outcomes that protect ourselves, our children and our planet.”
The statement comes one month before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where leaders intend to discuss sustainability and climate change.
Monday’s statement warns that countries need to adopt stronger measures to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels—the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The statement points out that, even if countries meet their existing greenhouse gas reduction targets under the agreement, a recent report from the United Nations projects “a global temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
In the statement, scientists from 22 national academies of sciences call on the government leaders to use the “best possible scientific evidence to guide action on their 2030 commitments” under the agreement and “take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions during the second half of the 21st Century.”
Getting to Net Zero Emissions
The academies say that the Commonwealth countries will have to hit net zero emissions by midcentury to meet the Paris goals, though developing countries might need a longer time frame.
“Recognising different capacities, challenges and priorities, the approaches of each nation will not be the same,” David Day, secretary of science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, said in a statement. “But, they must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation.”
The 53 countries of the Commonwealth comprise former territories of the British Empire, including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and are home to about 2.4 billion people.