Far-reaching emissions cuts must be made now

In the 1980s there was a particularly effective TV campaign aimed at slowing down traffic in towns and cities. It showed a car hitting a small child with the slogan: 20 lives, 30 dies.

Now the same adage can be applied to global temperature increases, namely that a two degree rise will kill millions of poor people in the southern hempisphere but some species on Earth will cope. 

However, at four degrees (the more likely scenario) most life forms on our planet will disappear.

Forget Greenland: at four degrees we will have no Great Barrier Reef and no rainforests in Brazil. Food crops globally will suffer which means war and famine.

There will be places on Earth where humans will not be able to survive.
And there will be no recovery for our species if we hit the six degrees rise still likely if C02 emissions don’t drop immediately.

This is the uncomfortable message from Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate at the University of Manchester.

He pulls no punches.  In this most hard-hitting of speeches at a recent responsible tourism gathering in the UK, Professor Anderson warns that compromise and small steps toward reducing C02 output are no longer an option.

We in the energy-guzzling West have to make immediate, difficult and far-reaching changes to the way in which we live, travel and do business. There is no other way.

“Taking the tram to the airport and buying ethical clothing do not compensate for ecosystem destruction. We can no longer plead ignorance - deep down we know that our pretence of environment stewardship is up.”