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Fire Brigades Union responds to UN report on climate change


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The Fire Brigades Union has joined the chorus of alarm at the UN’s latest climate report. Published yesterday, the report is the world’s largest ever report into climate change. It concludes that within the next two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by more than the vital 1.5C limit, bringing widespread devastation and extreme weather. According to the report only “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in emissions” can prevent such breakdown.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters here and across the world are on the front line of the climate crisis. We see the effects of climate change every time we fight wildfires and save people from floods, and we will fight as hard as we can for politicians to wake up and take notice. As a humanitarian service we cannot stand by and watch this happen.

”This report confirms that human activity is responsible for climate change and we are running out of time to save ourselves. But this requires fundamental political, social and economic change across the world, and those in power have, so far, failed in the face of this immense challenge.

“It also tallies closely with what firefighters across the world experience on a daily basis: a planet rapidly breaking down. Now, we have a view of the bigger picture – that humanity has a final chance to act before huge devastation occurs.”

The report states that we have already caused 1C of heating, close to the 1.5C danger limit agreed in the Paris climate deal and emphasised as a red line in a 2018 UN report. If emissions don’t fall in the next couple of decades then according to the report temperatures will rise by 3C, and if they don’t fall at all temperatures will rise by 4-5C. The latter has been described as “apocalypse territory”.

It states that every corner of the planet is already being affected and it could get far worse if the remaining slim chance to stop heating over 1.5C is not immediately grasped.

As well as making clear the damage that climate change is doing and will do to the planet, the report makes it clear that the climate crisis is unequivocally caused by human activities.

The 42 page summary of the report has been agreed, line-by-line, by every government on the planet.

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