Updated: Friday, 28th February 2020 @ 8:34am

'Catastrophic threat to humanity': Government science chief's climate change warning on Manchester visit

'Catastrophic threat to humanity': Government science chief's climate change warning on Manchester visit

By Tim Hyde

The current rate with which carbon is being dumped into the atmosphere is unsustainable and will have catastrophic consequences for humanity, according to the Government Chief Scientific Adviser.

Sir Mark Walport, who hosted a climate change lecture at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) yesterday, told MM that action needs to be taken to curb emissions.

The 61-year-old is currently giving a series of talks around the country highlighting how much humans have influenced global warming and the implications for the future that science and technology need to have in order to improve matters.

Sir Mark told MM: “We need to recognise that human’s dumping 10 giga-tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year is not sustainable in terms of changes to the climate and the long term consequences of humans and other species on the planet.

“We do know if emissions continue to grow unabated or even if they were to remain constant near current levels, the range of climate disruption would be from unpleasant to catastrophic.

“Science and technology has a crucial role in responding to these challenges, but so do we all.”

Pollution has had a major effect on the environment and, on average, the world is 0.8°C warmer than it was at the end of the nineteenth century.

Research also shows that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are 30% higher than they were 800,000 years ago – which is down to burning fossil fuels.

“The science is clear. Human emissions are responsible for climate disruption, which poses a severe threat to the planet,” added Sir Mark.

“The atmosphere and the oceans are warming, glaciers and ice sheets are melting, sea levels are rising, ocean waters are acidifying, and we are seeing increases in some types of extreme weather.”

He told MM that people need to recognise that there is no easy way to fix for climate change and that in Britain we need to continue to talk about climate change and find a number of solutions.

“The answer is for politicians to answer, but the UK has one of the strongest environments in the world, in terms of legislation,” he added.

“We have climate change act, we have a climate change committee and we have to protect our budgets, but any energy solution isn’t going to be from a single source, we need a mixed economy.

“Climate change is hugely important and needs continue to be in the public interest. It is part of my job is to communicate science both inside and outside government.”

Image courtesy of BIS Digital Image Library, with thanks

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