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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Original of Independent Letter

This letter is the original of that published in the Independent on 17th April 

Climate change: time is shorter than we thought

Atmospheric CO2 has risen above 400 ppm and is accelerating. The Arctic Ocean may well be ice-free this summer; methane gas is being released from the melting permafrost into the atmosphere and ocean acidification is intensifying. Sea levels are now rising far faster than predicted only a couple of years ago.

All these changes are irreversible. They make maintaining the global temperature rise below 2oC an illusory goal. The unavoidable outcome of this nightmare scenario is a rapidly deteriorating climatic situation. It will pose grave problems for all aspects of society in the short-term and certainly well before the end of the next parliament.

The effects will be as profoundly economical as ecological and are already evident. The mitigation actions needed are colossal. They will drive up energy demand at a time when international agreements on climate change will require the imposition of strict limits on carbon emissions and drive up public expenditure as tax receipts from economic growth shrink.

The future of all nations is irrevocably and immediately threatened.  Yet we see little to no discussion of this by any of the main political parties during this general election campaign. We therefore request for the benefit of the electorate and as a matter of urgency that all parties specifically set down clearly what policies they propose on the following: 

1. Ceasing all infrastructure development in flood risk areas as determined by the latest science and observations of ice sheet collapse.

 2. Plans to evacuate flood prone cities and to protect critical infrastructure such as nuclear power stations. 

3. Moving to a zero fossil fuel economy by the next decade with full acknowledgment of all the political and economic impacts.

 4. The extent of international co-operation to be pursued on climate change, in particular focusing on the management of security given the  paradox that the global nuclear weapon arsenal (including Trident) is being upgraded  when the futures of all nations are irrevocably and immediately threatened by climate change.


Professor Peter Wadhams (Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Ocean Physics Group, University of Cambridge)

Angie Zelter (Founder of Trident Ploughshare and Action AWE and Noble Peace Prize nominee)
Dr Mark Levene (University of Southampton, researcher on genocide and author)

Dr Mayer Hillman (Senior Research Fellow at Policy Studies Institute and co-author of “How we can save the planet”)

Robert Aldridge (of the US and previously a Lockheed design specialist on the Trident programme) 

Professor John Whitelegg,

Dr. Robin Stott, Co-chair, Climate and Health Council

Jeffrey Newman, Emeritus Rabbi, Finchley Reform Synagogue

John Pilger (Investigative Journalist and Author)

Paul Ingram (International transatlantic security think tank director)

Prof Paul Beckwith (Climatologist, University of Ottawa)

Kevin Lister (Author of “The Vortex of Violence and why we are losing the war on climate change”)