Our climate is changing

SNOW GO: Mr Gawne says the extreme weather is evidence of climate change. PHOTO: Mike Wade MW130121 (18).

SNOW GO: Mr Gawne says the extreme weather is evidence of climate change. PHOTO: Mike Wade MW130121 (18).

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ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Gawne believes the recent extreme weather seen in the island is evidence of climate change.

The Rushen MHK has spoken out on the issue, saying that the island cannot ignore the evidence.

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It comes after Lord Nicholas Stern, renowned climate economist and author of the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, admitted last month that he had ‘underestimated the risks’.

When asked whether the extreme weather that recently hit the island was evidence of climate change, Mr Gawne said: ‘It’s not what some numpty from Rushen thinks. It’s what scientific experts around the world are saying is the evidence of climate change.’

The Stern Review pointed to a 75 per cent chance that global temperatures would rise by between 2-4C above the long-term average.

He now believes the planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than expected. And that global temperatures are on track for about a 4C rise.

‘This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly,’ Lord Stern said.

Mr Gawne said: ‘If Lord Stern is concerned then we should take note.

‘As former chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank he is renowned for his expertise in economics and public, not Green advocacy.’

The Minister said it was unfortunate that at the most recent UN climate talks – held at Doha in Qatar in November 2012 – the international community deferred agreeing all inclusive and binding global greenhouse gas targets to 2015 with a view to implementation from 2020.

‘As Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at the University of Oxford has suggested, by this time China’s coal intensive economy, on which we rely for the production of many of our goods, could have doubled in size yet again with a corresponding huge increase in its rate of greenhouse gas emissions,’ he said.

Mr Gawne said two key goals to avoid what are acknowledged internationally as dangerous levels of climate change were limiting carbon dioxide levels to 450 parts per million and limiting global warming to 2C above preindustrial levels.

‘Worryingly the vast majority of climate scientists now predict that these maximum targets are very likely to be exceeded.’

The Minister said projections of how the climate of the Isle of Man will change, up to the end of this century, have been produced by the UK Met Office and show that we are at risk from sea level rise in particular.

For more information on climate projections and climate change adaptation go to www.ukcip.org.uk and ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk

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