Read scientists' terrifying warnings about climate change and you'll realise the need to make peace with nature

Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the UK Government, has warned that humanity’s survival is at stake

Deep into election season and we’ve all been inundated with messages from politicians of every persuasion trying to woo our vote. Big issues include the cost of living, health, and the economy. According to a recent YouGov poll, the environment and climate change are in the top five deciding issues influencing our voting decisions.

From here on in, future elections are likely to see climate issues having a much greater impact on our daily lives. Which is why politicians of all parties should put climate compassion at the forefront of their agendas. To make peace with nature, do right by fellow creatures, and end global heating. Time is running out.

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Only last month, former chief scientific adviser to the UK Government, Sir David King, warned that humanity’s very survival is at stake. Now chair of the global Climate Crisis Advisory Group, he called for concerted focus on reducing climate emissions, building resilience, repairing ecosystems, and removing greenhouse gases.

Rising sea levels are just one of a myriad of problems caused by climate change, in this case for Gardi Sugdub island, Panama (Picture: Adri Salido/Getty Images)Rising sea levels are just one of a myriad of problems caused by climate change, in this case for Gardi Sugdub island, Panama (Picture: Adri Salido/Getty Images)
Rising sea levels are just one of a myriad of problems caused by climate change, in this case for Gardi Sugdub island, Panama (Picture: Adri Salido/Getty Images)

Similarly, an open letter from more than 400 scientists called on all parties to commit to an "ambitious" programme of climate policies. Meanwhile, in New York, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, marked World Environment Day with a blistering speech on what he called “climate crunch time”.

Our battle to limit climate change to 1.5C – considered the ‘safe’ upper limit – is hanging by a thread. It will be won or lost over the next five years. Climate chaos is just around the corner.

And who will be hardest hit? The poorest, most vulnerable in society. Destroying lives, hitting economies, and harming our health.

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Breaking boundaries

Climate change represents just one of what scientists call the ‘planetary boundaries’ now being pushed to the brink, shattering global temperature records, accelerating species loss, and increasing pollution. Industrial animal agriculture and increasing meat consumption are major reasons why we are pushing planetary boundaries to such dangerous degrees. Wildlands converted into fields to feed caged or confined animals; pastures ploughed up; cattle moved deeper into forests, all taking a huge toll on the world’s wildlife and our climate.

The way we produce and consume food is a major contributor to climate change. Animal agriculture alone produces more climate-heating emissions than the entire transport sector.

Better futures

The good news is that we have the means to turn things around. We just need the political will to make it happen. We have our forests, our wetlands and oceans to absorb carbon and provide life-giving opportunities for nature.

Renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels are burgeoning, providing cleaner air, decent jobs, and better energy security. Renewables already make up almost a third of the world’s electricity supply.

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In the same way, we can transform food systems, supporting nature-friendly, regenerative farming practices. We can embrace alternative proteins and reduce overconsumption of meat. We can get behind higher welfare practices that allow farmed animals to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

We have the means to create a liveable future through climate compassion. We just need to embrace the natural world around us. Protect it. Let it live. So that we can too.

Philip Lymbery is chief executive of Compassion in World Farming, a former United Nations Food Systems Champion and an award-winning author. His latest book is Sixty Harvests Left: How to Reach a Nature-Friendly Future. Philip is on X/Twitter @philip_ciwf

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