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In Mike's view...

Dr Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB

Image: Eleanor Bentall

The BBC’s Frozen Planet series has been awe-inspiring. It perfectly captured the magnificence of the polar regions, and reminded us of nature’s ability to inspire and engage the nation.

This week, the last episode, On Thin Ice, carries a powerful personal message from Sir David Attenborough about climate change. These precious parts of the world are vulnerable and their future hangs in the balance.

At the poles, climate change is already tearing apart the natural fabric upon which wildlife depends, and this is a sign of what is to come elsewhere. Back home, climate change may be a bit less pronounced, but anyone with an eye for nature can see the warning signs as the timings of seasons change and species suffer.

Record high

Last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change is closing.

We cannot be the generation that lets this happen, and that means every one of us stepping up for nature

Global greenhouse gas emissions are at a record high. If we carry on along our current pathway, then we can expect climate change that is so severe we will see collapse of the planet’s life support systems in many parts of the world, particularly the Arctic, tropical forests, and coral reefs.

Scientists have estimated that for every 1 degree Celcius increase in the average global temperature, about 10% of species are committed to extinction. The IEA say we’re on target for a 6 degree Celcius increase.

Unprecedented attack

We cannot be the generation that lets this happen, and that means every one of us stepping up for nature. This could not be more urgent. Last week, the Chancellor launched an unprecedented attack on the environment.

Warning of the ‘burden’ of ‘endless environmental goals’, he announced funding for our most polluting industries, and a major new investment programme in roads and airports. This comes just after a substantial cut in support for solar power, a nature-friendly technology that is part of a low-carbon economy.

We need your help

Please step up for nature and write to your MP today to tell them that economic growth must be green and need not sacrifice nature, and that the UK must lead in the fight against climate change. Please urge them to pass on your concerns to the Chancellor.

Find out more about the Chancellor’s autumn economic statement and how to contact your MP here.

Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB

In Mike's view...

The RSPB's Chief Executive, Mike Clarke, provides his opinions on the major issues affecting wildlife and the environment in this regular online column. You can read more from Mike in the quarterly membership magazine, Nature's Home.