Environmental campaigners have responded to the United in Science 2020 Report, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization which brings together the latest updates on climate science from key global organizations.

The report highlighted how emissions are returning to pre-pandemic levels after a temporary decline caused by the lockdown restrictions and economic slowdown.

The report also found that:

+Global fossil CO2 emissions reached a new record high in 2019, 62% higher than in 1990

+2016–2020 is set to be warmest five-year period on record

+The ‘emissions gap’ between actual emissions and what is needed to restrict warming to 1.5C is larger than ever

+By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion. The number of people who live in potential severely water-scarce areas will increase to 2.7 to 3.2 billion people by 2050.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate and Energy Campaigner Caroline Rance said:

“This report should act as a wake-up call as to the scale of action required to reduce emissions, in a just way, to deliver our fair share of the Paris Agreement. There is no time to waste in taking the concerted climate action that will help us create good green jobs as we transition away from fossil fuels, reduce emissions and build a fairer economy.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic impacts have unfolded against a backdrop of climate breakdown; while Scotland was in lockdown temperatures in the Arctic hit an all-time high of 38ºC. 2020 looks set to be the hottest year on record while communities in the Global South are dealing with the combined impacts of climate breakdown and Covid-19 on a daily basis.

“Governments must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that none of the recovery money goes to new fossil fuel developments or high carbon projects that will worsen the climate emergency. Politicians cannot be seduced by the false solutions and false promises of the fossil fuel industry who are demanding public money for high risk technologies like Carbon Capture or fossil-fuelled hydrogen.

“By mapping out the skills needed for a zero carbon economy, providing those training opportunities and kickstarting a green jobs programme we can give people the skills and good work they need to flourish as we move beyond fossil fuels.”

Notes to Editors

UN ‘United in Science 2020’ Report

‘United in Science’ Press Release https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/united-science-report-climate-change-has-not-stopped-covid19

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.