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25 May 2017

As scientists warn we have lost the Arctic as we know it, due to the unprecedented loss of sea ice - 84% of people believe the UK Prime Minister should use the G7 summit to bolster US commitment to climate change

LONDON: More than eight in ten people want the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to use the G7 Summit this weekend to convince US President Donald J. Trump not to take the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, according to a new poll released today for WWF.

The G7 (along with the EU, who attend G7 meetings) account for over a quarter of the world’s emissions. The US alone produces around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions[1] – currently the second highest emitter in the world after China.

Failure to tackle greenhouse gas emissions will see climate change continuing unchecked. If we carry on emitting at current levels it is estimated that in as little as four years the world will have emitted enough carbon to risk exceeding the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting warming to 1.5°C.  If countries start leaving the accord – particularly major greenhouse gas emitters like the US – then we will see a greater risk of climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, further loss of wildlife and increasingly severe weather across the globe.

Since President Trump took office there are signs the US could leave the accord – the first country to do so. In April, an executive order was signed by him opening the Arctic to drilling for oil. This would only increase pressure on the Arctic which is already on track to be largely free of sea ice in summer by the 2030s and over the past three decades has lost 65% of its sea ice thickness[4]

Every nation is seeing the effects of climate change and the UK is no exception.  Climate change causes more extreme weather, more frequently.  The effects of that are being felt in all parts of the UK – most notably in flooding which, on top of the untold misery caused to those whose homes and belongings are damaged, already costs the UK taxpayer £1 billion per year[5] - an amount which is expected to increase as the effects of climate change grow[6].

 Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF commented:

“The Paris Agreement is a bold and hopeful commitment to protect the environment for future generations – nearly every country on the planet signed to take ambitious action to try and limit the impacts of climate change.  We urgently need our Prime Minister to use the UK’s special relationship with the US to urge Donald Trump to stand by the agreement and protect our planet for future generations. It’s what the UK public wants, and it is what our children and our environment need.

“The Arctic is not only an amazing place with unique and important wildlife like polar bears and bowhead whales. It also plays a crucial role making sure the climate of our planet stays stable. And yet climate change is putting all this under threat.  We have now lost the Arctic as we know it in our lifetime and if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the rate we are now, this will only get worse until we pass a point of no return.”  

-Ends-

 

For further information, please contact

Alexander Stafford

+44 (0)1483 412332

07742 093510

astafford@wwf.org.uk

Notes to the editor

 

  1. The G7, plus EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 accounted for 27.3% of the world emissions.
  2. The US accounts for 14.4% of the world’s greenhouse emissions.[1]
  3. The poll was carried out by Populus of 2095 people for WWF.
  4. WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit https://wwwf.org.uk for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @wwf_uk.

 

[1] CAIT Climate Data Explorer

[4] http://www.amap.no/documents/doc/Snow-Water-Ice-and-Permafrost.-Summary…

[5] https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/UK-CCRA-2017-Synthesis-Report-Committee-on-Climate-Change.pdf

[6] The number of UK households at a significant chance of flooding is projected to increase from 860,000 to 1.9 million over the next three decades.