Leader: Scots must play their part in climate battle

It's time we stopped pillaging the earth's finite resources to create short-term gain for the few at the expense of the many. Picture: PA
It's time we stopped pillaging the earth's finite resources to create short-term gain for the few at the expense of the many. Picture: PA
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Even if you don’t believe Man is destroying the planet, it makes sense to do everything you can to conserve ever-dwindling resources

Discovering today that our planet has already reached the critical halfway point on the road to dangerous and catastrophic climate change is a very sobering thought.

The latest Met Office figures reveal that global temperatures reached a key milestone this year for the first time, having risen more than 1C above average levels in pre-industrial times.

Experts believe 2016 will also be a very warm year, suggesting the one degree margin will soon become firmly established.

They say a combination of carbon emissions and the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon have driven the latest rise.

The news adds weight to the argument that our world continues to warm up apace. Last year was the warmest since records began, but 2015 looks set to run off with the title.

Scientists and environmental campaigners continue to warn that human activities are causing the world to spin uncontrollably towards the internationally agreed crisis point of a 2C rise in average temperatures since the 1750s, when the Industrial Revolution sparked widespread burning of fossil fuels.

So you might think the increasingly frequent extreme weather events, coupled with evidence of melting ice sheets and rising sea levels, might be enough to convince even the most determined “climate deniers”. Not so, it seems.

When you consider the amount of carbon dioxide and other climate-warming gases belching out of the likes of the US and China, it’s easy to think Scotland and the UK are just tiny wee fish in the big global ocean –powerless to offer any meaningful contribution in a daunting battle against warming.

But that’s taking the easy way out. None of us should shirk our individual responsibility to this dear green place. After all, there is as yet nowhere else to go once we’ve fried earth into oblivion. Whether or not we believe that human actions are the key driver of climate change, surely we have a moral obligation to take care of our environment – just in case.

Even if lowering greenhouse gas emissions cannot quell temperature rises, we should still switch to greener forms of energy and cut our carbon footprint wherever we can.

It’s time we stopped pillaging the earth’s finite resources to create short-term gain for the few at the expense of the many.

We must set about tackling the problem of our ever-expanding waste mountain and avoid further contamination of our seas and rivers.

It is important that we look at the bigger picture, even if our neighbours do not.

We have a duty to preserve and protect all life on earth – not just for future generations, but for the basic survival of the planet.

So as we head towards the United Nations COP21 conference in Paris, where world leaders are due to gather at the end of this month in the hope of agreeing a treaty on climate change targets, forget about asking who is right and who is wrong in the debate.

Surely every little helps. And if not, then at least we will have tried – and hopefully made our world a nicer place in the process.

It’s time for everyone to pitch in and do their best to save the place we call home.