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Sir Patrick Vallance, 61, urged world leaders to embrace change to prevent a climate catastrophe. Speaking from the COP26 summit in Glasgow, he said Covid is a two to four-year problem, while climate change is a 50 to 100- year issue. He added: “The reason I say it is a bigger problem is because, in terms of the overall effect on humanity, if this is not stopped it is a bigger challenge to the way we live and lives will be lost. “If the green choice becomes the easy one, more people will be willing to change their behaviour.”
Sir Patrick said behavioural changes had started to take place although more action is needed. He added: “Behavioural change is part of climate action. Some of that comes down to what we do as individuals, and some of it is what needs to happen to make things easier for us.” Sir Patrick said it is vital that world leaders work to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
In a press conference, he said: “It’s crucial that the 1.5C is kept alive. I don’t think this is a negotiable thing. It has to happen.” He pointed to announcements that have been made by countries during the conference so far, including plans for curbing methane emissions, changes to deforestation and funding for agricultural innovation.
Sir Patrick added: “These are all important steps in the right direction. I hope we will see more over the course of this week.” He said lessons can be learned from the way Covid was dealt with, showing how humanity can pull together to tackle a crisis.
Meanwhile, activists dressed as world leaders staged a protest near the conference site yesterday against rising water levels. A replica of the COP26 summit’s main UN negotiation stage, bearing the words, “Last call for climate action”, was halfsunk in the Clyde Canal. Protesters wore masks of the faces of Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Canada’s premier Justin Trudeau.
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