2023 is the hottest year in human history and the year has not even finished yet.
The United Nations recently warned that we’re on track to surpass the 1.5°C global temperature limit agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Agreement. This should be a wake-up call for all of us.
The message is clear: governments need to stick to their promises to tackle climate change. It’s devastating and disheartening that our government, instead of investing in renewable energy, has given the green light for a new oil field in the North Sea as well as reneging on its climate pledges.
On Saturday 30th September at our Sussex Green Hub local people gathered to listen to a one hour talk by climate change expert Nick Nuttall. Nick is a Director with digital broadcaster We Don’t Have Time and the former Director of Communications for the UN Environment and UN climate organizations.
We hope you will enjoy the recording of his talk, and at some stage soon we hope to be able to provide a transcript. Lower down this page there are lots of ideas for action you can take, here and now, to make a difference. In the final section you can read Nick’s ‘opinion piece’ which we distributed to the media after this event.
You don’t need to know the science of climate change to know that we are in an emergency and urgent action by all is needed.
Scientists have confirmed that summer 2023 was the hottest season in human history, and global temperatures during the Northern Hemisphere summer were the warmest on record.
June, July and Aug 2023 saw heatwaves, droughts and wildfires in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, with dramatic impact on economies, ecosystems and human health.
The average global temperature in June, July and August was 16.77 C (62.19 F), smashing the previous 2019 record.
16th July China’s highest recorded temperature on record was 52.2 C (126 F) in Sanbao.
9th September Britain recorded its hottest day of 2023 so far 33.2 C (91.8 F) in London’s Kew Gardens. 9th October was 25.8C, the normal average temperatures for the UK in September are 17 c or 62 F.
The Earth’s hottest eight years recorded have all been since 2015.
Europe is warming faster, in fact almost twice as fast as the global average, at about 2.2C above pre-industrial times.
In 12 days this September ten countries and territories saw severe flooding. In Libya alone 3,000 people have died; 10,000 are missing and 43,000 are displaced due to flooding.
Research is pouring out from all over the world which says with 97% certainty where we are headed. So join us in taking action now!
What can you do about it
The task may seem daunting, but small actions can contribute to significant change. Here is a great example – if every person in the UK only filled their kettle with enough water for the drinks they are making we could turn off two UK power stations! Here are some impactful steps you can take:
- Use less of everything! Insulate up and power down your house.
- Buy less stuff: everything uses energy in its manufacture, and shipment around the world. So if you don’t need it, don’t buy it!
- Grow your own or buy loose and local. If buying from supermarkets choose food with minimal food miles, preferably with no or minimal recyclable packaging. Learn more about ethical supermarkets here. And visit the Sussex Green Hub to read Ethical Consumer or take one from our Green Book library for the month.
- If you need more clothes buy preloved from the charity shop or apps like Vinted or Depop.
- Repair at your nearest repair cafe rather than replace, there are 16 in West Sussex now, find your nearest here.
- Refill your personal hygiene and household cleaning products rather than buy again, then they do not need to be shipped around the World in the making and recycling process. Find your nearest refill location here (mainly Horsham District, tell us if you know about others in West Sussex).
- Let your bank and financial institutions know that you’ll switch if they invest in fossil fuels. Check out ethical rankings for UK banks and building societies here.
- Ensure your home is being powered with clean renewable energy, look for tariffs with terms like “renewable electricity”, change providers if necessary, and tell the company why you are leaving! Learn more about renewable energy providers here.
- Voice your concerns with your council and government officials. Meet or write to your MP, tell them how climate change affects your community, and ask about their plans. Find your MP here.
- Sign the Fair Trade Climate Justice Campaign and demand fair global action on climate change.
- Support Friends of the Earth’s Climate Pledge to secure a liveable world for future generations.
In an uncertain world, conscious actions can help us regain control over our lives and minimise our impact on the planet and its inhabitants.
The UK should lead the fight against climate change, generating thousands of jobs in the industries of the future. If our decision-makers can’t see that, it’s time to urge them to step aside and let those who understand take charge and act.
Carrie Cort & Nick Nuttall
Nick speaking to a packed audience
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UK’s Move has set back climate action – by Nick Nuttall
A new report by the United Nations has provided sobering evidence that the world is off track to counter dangerous climate change.
The Global Stock Take shows that despite some progress, nations are set to sail past the 1.5 C safety target set at the landmark 2015 Paris climate summit.
The response of all right minded governments has to be one of stepped up ambition, ensuring their pledges are met at scale and on time.
But in the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has chosen to open the sluice gates to the very substances that are fuelling climate change by giving the go ahead for the 300 million barrel North Sea Rosebank field.
This is despite the international scientific consensus that we already have enough fossil fuels on tap to fry the planet several times over and any new ones should be kept in the ground.
At a stroke, British leadership on climate change– boosted in part by a massive ramp up of offshore wind power–has been thrown under the bus.
The Prime Minister has also managed to distress allies, signalled rejection that the future economy should be clean, green and resource efficient and created a fairy tale story of energy security for the British people.
Green groups, including members of Sussex Green Living who I addressed last week in Horsham, are quite rightly frustrated if not downright depressed.
It seems that the government is more interested in fragile hopes of being re-elected than in the fragility of a world battered by ever rising extreme weather events.
The best science has been clear for years and all governments have signed off on the findings.
Keeping a global temperature rise under control requires global emissions to halve by 2030 to hit net zero by 2050.
The good news is that a lot is happening world-wide. Renewable energy is now doubling every 2.5 years; food companies like Unilever and Nestle are investing more in regenerative agriculture which improves soil health, cuts carbon emissions and saves farmers fertilizer costs.
Many poorer countries are also acting. Kenya now has a surplus of green electricity from geothermal and wind power which it is now using to introduce electric buses in Nairobi.
But we are also way behind on some areas. Restoring forests, nature’s natural carbon collectors, and decarbonizing buildings, are two cases in point.
Subsidizing fossil fuels in the 21stC is like Dinosaurs subsidizing comets. But it is worse than that.
The billions being spent could be better spent on more renewables including bringing solar to every British rooftop and energy saving measures in every home.
British leadership on climate change is important internationally and for delivering in Britain green, competitive, growth that looks forward, not back.
We have all the finance, technology and human creativity to solve climate change and build a new, prosperous future for all.
If some policymakers can’t see this, it is time for them to step aside and let those that do take up the reins.
Nick Nuttall is a Director with digital broadcaster We Don’t Have Time and the former Director of Communications for the UN Environment and UN climate organizations.
Below we will add buttons linking to organisations which might be of interest – Ethical Consumer magazine as well as other sources which may be free, Oxford Climate Outreach (is there a Horsham equivalent?)