July, 2010

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Climate change

News and views from the RSPB on climate change and what you can do about it.
  • Mayday!

    Thmaydaye RSPB is one of thousands of businesses around the UK to cut its carbon emissions, as part of the Mayday Network - an initiative by HRH Prince of Wales and Business in the Community. We've just earned the right to use the MayDay logo (see right), in recognition of our efforts to tackle our emissions.

    To become a member of the Mayday network - and there are already 2,500 members - businesses must answer a range of questions about how they've set and performed against climate targets and increased staff and customers' awareness of climate change.

    The RSPB is committed to reducing its emissions by at least 3% per year.  It takes gradual cuts of this scale, year after year, to reach emissions cuts of 80% by 2050 - that's what scientists say is needed for society to avoid dangerous climate change. And it's in line with the targets that we campaigned for the UK Government to adopt, and which were incorporated in the Climate Change Act.

    The RSPB has made a great start. Last year, we cut 608 tonnes of CO2 from our business travel emissions, reducing mileage by almost 1 million miles! 

     

    It is only a beginning, though. From increasing our energy efficiency to installing renewables on reserves, the work to shrink our carbon footprint goes on!

     

    If you have practical suggestions for how the RSPB could be cutting its business emissions, do get in touch. We'd like to hear from you. Why not post a comment below?

    And if you're a business - what are you doing?

     

     

  • UK makes a big announcement - but must be braver still

    power station, pylonsUK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne, with his counterparts in France and Germany, Jean-Louis Borloo and Dr Norbert Röttgen, last Thursday published a statement calling on Europe to increase its greenhouse gas reduction target to 30% cuts by 2020. The climate ministers' statement also appeared in the Financial Times.

    The RSPB welcomes this call to action, but warns that Governments must go further if dangerous climate change is to be avoided.

    RSPB Climate Policy Officer Melanie Coath, who's been tracking the international negotiations closely, explains why:

     "When the EU negotiators went to Copenhagen they made no secret of their position. Europe had already committed to reducing its emissions by 20% by 2020 and would increase that to 30% if a global agreement was reached.

    Copenhagen failed to live up to expectations, narrowly escaping complete crash only by salvaging a loose accord that the major parties signed up to. As the EU never got to play its 30% card, the 20% target has remained, holding back green investment and threatening to undermine the EU's position as a climate change leader.

    Now, Chris Huhne has led a call to Europe to increase the target unilaterally. 

    This is a welcome move, but it doesn't go far enough. Politics needs to keep up with the science.

    The IPCC are clear: if you want to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, developed countries need to cut emissions by 25-40% by 2020 from 1990 levels to stay in a temperature range of 2.1-2.4 degrees. To stand a good chance of staying below two degrees, you need a reduction of more than 40% on average across all developed countries.

    2oC is not just an arbitrary number; it's where climate change impacts get really dangerous across the world. According to the IPPC it means that 95% of the Great Barrier reef is lost and 37% of the Arctic tundra. Overall we could be looking at loosing 20 to 30% of species globally. And it would be a human tragedy too, causing 55 million more Africans to go hungry and up to 3 million more people to suffer an increased risk of coastal flooding.

    This means Europe needs to be considering a 40% target by 2020, and this Government, which aspires to be the greenest Government ever, needs to make this happen."