(CNS): The British government’s official climate change adviser and the chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben (John Gummer), has said politicians and policymakers are failing to rise to the challenge of a rapidly warming planet. Pointing to the mounting evidence and trends, from melting polar ice to record temperatures and rising sea levels, the Conservative peer called on politicians to act with more urgency. “The thing that I want to bring home to policymakers is that this is increasingly urgent,” he said after the publication of his committee’s annual progress report.
The UK will miss its legally binding carbon budgets in 2025 and 2030 because of failures in cutting emissions. This news comes at a time when the whole planet is dealing with record-breaking temperatures and an avalanche of news about alarming climate-related events.
Deben said that while no single weather event could be attributed to climate change, the signs of a planet in crisis were undeniable. “This is extremely urgent because these things are now happening much more often and – in aggregate – it is clearly because of climate change.”
Maintaining that mankind is responsible for fuelling climate change, he said it was “no good saying ‘oh well, it will all work out one way or another’. We are responsible, and if we don’t take on that responsibility we are shoving it on to our children and no parent should do that in any circumstances.”
The proportion of people in the United States who believe climate change is real and human-caused is higher than it has been for more than ten years. The annual survey conducted by Muhlenberg College found 73% of Americans surveyed believe there is solid scientific evidence of climate change, while 60% said they believe humans are at least partially responsible for the rising temperatures.
“One reason is simply the evidence,” said Chris Borick, a Muhlenberg College political scientist who helped launch the survey in 2008. “The evidence of declining polar ice that seems stronger every year. I think Americans are now, on the whole, coming to terms that we’re living in a different climate.”
The survey found that political persuasions remain the biggest indication of who believes in climate change as right wing special interest groups have been very successful at sowing doubt in the phenomenon. But now, regardless of their political persuasion, more people are experiencing the impact of climate change themselves, which scientists believe is undermining climate change deniers.
The recent record-high belief in climate change science corresponds with record-high temperatures observed by climatologists this year. May was the hottest May ever recorded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But people’s own observations factored into the survey results, as they notice their gardens growing differently or dwindling snowfall.
“Experiences with weather do have influence on views of climate change,” Borick said. “I think it’s part of the equation.”