Ian Wray is entitled to his point of view, that climate change is nothing to worry about. Whether or not the Telegraph should provide a prominent platform for these views is another matter entirely.
If a reader wrote suggesting that covid vaccinations are harmful, the editor would have qualms about publishing it. If someone else wrote suggesting wearing a seat belt in a car is dangerous, I don’t think the editor would publish. Suppose someone wrote explaining how smoking is good for you. Again, I think the editor would not give it space on the letters page. The editor would be sensible not to publish all these letters because printing them gives credibility to false ideas that will endanger lives if they are taken seriously.
The science is just as clear with climate change as with all these issues. The 2022 IPCC report found that climate impacts are already more widespread and severe than previously expected. Climate change is causing dangerous disruption in every region in the world with just 1.1 degrees C (2 degrees F) of warming.
Droughts, extreme heat and record floods already threaten food security and livelihoods for millions of people. Since 2008, devastating floods and storms have forced more than 20 million people from their homes each year. Since 1961, crop productivity growth in Africa shrunk by a third due to climate change.
We are locked into even worse impacts from climate change in the near term.
Even if the world rapidly decarbonizes, greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and current emissions trends will make some very significant climate impacts unavoidable through 2040. The IPCC estimates that in the next decade alone, climate change will drive 32-132 million more people into extreme poverty. Global warming will jeopardize food security, as well as increase the incidence of heat-related mortality, heart disease and mental health challenges. Migration, between countries and within countries is bound to increase.
We know risks will escalate quickly with higher temperatures, often causing irreversible impacts of climate change. For instance, with just 1.5 degrees C of global warming, many glaciers around the world will either disappear completely or lose most of their mass; an additional 350 million people will experience water scarcity by 2030, and as much as 14% of terrestrial species will face high risks of extinction.
There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity for Climate Action.
The science is unequivocal: Climate change endangers the well-being of people and the planet. Delayed action risks triggering impacts of climate change so catastrophic our world will become unrecognizable. Those that legitimise opinions questioning the need for climate action are endangering billions of lives.
Sheffield Green Party