Amid Covid and war, report on climate gives hope that we can act for good- Scotsman editorial comment

The horrors inflicted by Vladimir Putin on Ukraine have, understandably, occupied the world's attention for the last two months.

But the release yesterday of the final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reminds us about the state of the planet and - most importantly - what we can do about it.

However pressing the emergency in Eastern Europe, we should heed the report's contents.

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This final instalment of the IPCC's deliberations has been billed as the most optimistic episode of a trilogy. The first two parts, warning (last year) of "code red for humanity" and (earlier this year) the huge risks of allowing climate change to hit 1.5 degrees, made for unrelentingly worrying reading.

The final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reminds us of the state of the planet - and importantly what we can do about it. PIC: Stockvault.

This final contribution reminds that all, perhaps, is not lost.

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Traditional Green policies often appear to call for the decimation of the global economy to secure the planet's future. Many readers would find the whiff of hard-left politics a barrier to any environmental good sense in those demands.

We should, therefore, welcome the new report, which highlights a rich array of "quick win" policy decisions available to us now, broadly supported by the public and all technically viable: more renewable energy, more electrification and efficiency, more green spaces, less commuting. These moves are not sufficient in themselves, but set us on the right path.

The only caveat is: we must set down that path, at pace, now. Scientists are still certain there is a "brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity" to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees' warming by 2100.

Achieving this will require frantic change in behaviour, throughout the rich world, in the next two to three years. Putin's war and Russia's grip on gas reserves has crystallised this. We will need to change our behaviour, industry will need to decarbonise and much oil and gas will need to be left in the ground.

Without action, we are on track for warming of 3.2 degrees of warming by 2100 - with nightmarish implications for future generations.

Covid, then war, has shown how we can radically change how our world works when we must. The challenge of reducing emissions rapidly offers further opportunity to build a better future, and to do so pragmatically. We should seize it.

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