Alec Sharma, Sharma, Laurel discussed on BBC Newsday
Now the world is dangerously close to running out of time to stop climate change catastrophe. That's the warning from Alec Sharma, the UK government's climate chief, who is leading the cop 26 summit to be held in the Scottish city of Glasgow later this year. In an interview with The Observer newspaper today, Mr Sharma said, the effects of radical climate change We're already clear with floods, fires, heat waves He said A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due to be published tomorrow would be the starkest warning yet about what the future might hold. Well, let's You know, from Professor Andrew Shepherd, who's a glaciologist at the University of Leeds here in the UK, Um could you first professor please explain what the remit of this PC report is and what you think it might say. So I think everyone's familiar with these reports. Now we've had them for the past 30 years. Um, what this report is going to tell us is the latest changes in the Earth's climate We expect But it's also going to say that we've changed parts of our climate system for good actually, and that's surreal. Wake up call. We're going to have to live in a different environment in the future because we're not going to be able to reverse Some of the things that have happened. And we've seen so many stories recently, pointing to the possibility that some parts of the climate system are already passed. Tipping points. Oh what? What? Which are the ones that you're most concerned about? So there are quite a few. Actually, I think, um across climate science, maybe a dozen also have been identified. But there's some really obvious ones that people will have heard about retreat of the ice in the Arctic Ocean, for instance, and rapid melting and acceleration of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. And they might seem a long way away from people because they're at the polls. But as soon as I entered the ocean that affects sea levels, But he also calls the ocean as well. And we've seen some really Dramatic changes in the oceans in both hemispheres. Actually in Antarctica. It's getting colder and fresher and and in the North Atlantic. It's getting colder and fresher and that unfortunately disturbs the heat. Salt transport around our oceans, which keeps in particular the northern Europe a lot warmer than we actually should be. Do you think the zero IPCC report will prompt the necessary action from world leaders when the gathering in Glasgow I really hope so because through my lifetime, I've lived, um through many, many messages, which are telling people that they have to change their lifestyles, but actually what We really need is is our government to provide electricity and clean electricity for result to use so we don't have to use fossil fuels. It's not something you or I can do. I can't build. A renewable energy plant. But the governments that we elect camp and they'll do it as soon as they believe that there are votes to be won from this and I really hope that the message will be heard by governments, um, that we want them to to make our lives. Easier in the future. And so that we can leave lever back to planet for our Children. Professor Andrew Shepherd. Stay with us because we have two guests with us on weekend today. Laurel sure is a journalist and Laurel. I wonder if you Have any questions for Professor Shepherd on this? Yes. Thank you So much for explaining all that. I'm wondering how you think the public will respond to this and and how you know the media could cover this very complicated report in a way that will be accessible to to regular people in a way that will actually make them Want to act instead of maybe just feeling paralyzed. Well, I do think that we've seen actually, even this year. Quite a sea change in media reporting of extreme weather and also Extreme weather that in other years, people might have welcomed. You know, he waves in countries like the UK in the past. We used to welcome them. I think this is great. I'm in sky Northern Scotland at the moment and and and people here my expect positive things from climate warming, but actually has been a reflection on that this year and the realization that in other parts of the planet Heat waves kill people. And so it's not such a good thing at all. And I hope that the reflections that will be made on this IPCC report on on the extra, not 0.1 degree centigrade of average planetary warming Princeton that might be reported. But on these extreme events, an actual tipping points changes altering climate system for good. And so our Children won't live through the same, um, world that we live through because they're a changes that have taken place in just my lifetime in your lifetime. So I really hope that the media will pick up on these messages that Brooke changes and how we've got to try and prevent others happening in the in the coming decades. Country is also with us today about barrister and author Seneca. Are you concerned about this? What? What? We're hearing what we're seeing with the floods and the fires. No. Yeah, For sure. I mean, I Andrew said it felt like a long way away. What happens in the polls? And of course it does. But, yeah, I mean, I agree with you that there has been a big change this year between normally one. Here's the jokes about how you know we're looking forward to a heat wave, and it's not going to do this country any harm at all. But just about whatever it was three weeks ago or a month ago, we had flash floods here. I'm in West London, Ladbroke Grove in west London. We had flash floods down on Portobello Road, which has basically turned portable writing. Reports by the river. You know, the mark the market was was washed away that day. I mean, the only thing is there is this still is this kind of sense of general helplessness I I feel and you know, even though The government. Does say many more of the right things that it's been saying before you then get ridiculous Comments by the prime minister's spokesman, Allegra Stratton, that we should all be rinsing auditions before we put them in the dishwasher and freezing half a loaf of bread and and and that's what we can do. And then we find out the sheet. Um, drives a diesel car herself. I mean, It's it's There's a there's a sea change in perception, but there's also, uh, I level of desperation I feel and I just I mean, it's not really a question. It's just an observation. I wonder what you think about that. Yeah, I don't want to pick on Allegra. She's had a job change right than expected job. He's getting getting to grips with her brief. But Alex charmer is saying all the right things. I just hope it's a brief that doesn't carry with a great Budget. Um and I really hope that his government will listen to what he's saying. Um, and all the evidence is that this present government that we have in the UK at least and we shouldn't just blame on the UK's government. We are hosting cop, of course, and so it matters. That our government does, um, want to collect votes and appeal to the populist and so let's hope that there will be some, um, recognition that this is what people want our government to do for us. We don't want to have to make lifestyle changes before our governments provide renewable energy. We need renewable energy sources.