In response to the Prime Minister’s speech to the UN Climate Summit, Martin Harper, Director of Conservation at the RSPB said:
“Climate change is happening and is already putting pressure on wildlife across the world – from the coral reefs to the uplands of the United Kingdom. Unless leaders take serious and urgent action to put global emissions on a downward trend we will be facing widespread extinctions.”
“Today’s summit must be the catalyst of the bold action on climate change we and the wildlife we share this planet with all desperately need”
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s participation in the Summit and his recognition of the enormity of the threat posed by climate change, and of the need for a binding global deal in Paris by the end of next year that would keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. Of particular importance was David Cameron’s commitment to ensuring the EU agrees a climate target of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% 2030. This is the absolute minimum if Europe is to continue to lead the way to a global climate deal by the end of next year”
“We will be looking to the Prime Minister to build on today’s Summit and to show serious leadership on climate change at home and on the international stage. His first test will a critical European Council meeting this Autumn at which EU leaders will decide on future climate targets.”
For the love of rhinos, hedgehogs, our coastlines and gardens....
Snorkelling, walks in bluebell woods, and my local birding patch....
These are just some of the stories about how climate change threatens the things we love that have been shared as part of the For the Love of campaign on our website.
With an historic climate change summit in New York later this month, now’s the time to stand up for what we love: there's a For The Love climate march in London on Sunday 21 September.
I’ll be there for the love of wildlife everywhere, and in particular for orangutans, gibbons and hornbills and their home, the Sabangau rainforest in Indonesia where I’ve just lived for a year. Forests like this, and the RSPB’s own Harapan rainforest, are increasingly at risk from extreme weather and fires made worse by climate change. and show leaders how important action on climate change is to all of us. Join us in London, and people around the world, to show that we need action and ambition on climate change. On Sunday 21 September we'll march through Westminster ending with a massive group photo outside parliament.
If you’d like to be part of history on 21 September come along; full details can be found here, and you can register here.
Matt Williams, Climate Change Policy Officer at the RSPB
Earlier this year the RSPB, the National Trust and other countryside conservation groups published a major review of the risks fracking could pose to the natural environment in the UK.
The review concluded that the risks were significant and diverse, particularly when fracking is carried out at the commercial scale. At this stage well sites of up to 3 hectares are needed at frequent intervals, each with their own environmental impacts and risks. Critically from a wildlife and countryside perspective, cumulative impacts at the landscape level could be very significant at this stage.
We also put forward ten recommendations that would strengthen how this industry is regulated and would go some way to addressing these risks.
The headline recommendation was to create shale gas exclusion zones that include National Parks, Areas of Natural Beauty (AONBs) and sites protected for wildlife (SACs, SPAs and SSSIs for all you acronym lovers).
Today Government have announced that new protection measures will be introduced to protect National Parks and AONBs. This is great progress as it marks a real shift from ducking the environmental issues around fracking to recognising there is a serious issue here that deserves a serious response. It is, however, surprising that they have not included wildlife sites in these new rules. This is what I said to the media:
“For the first time the Government has recognised that special places need to be protected from fracking, but it has not gone far enough in ensuring that wildlife sites need protecting. We are calling for all of these sites to be excluded from fracking developments too - this would send a clearer and more decisive message to the industry and public alike.”
The other big question is why Government didn’t just exclude fracking from these areas. Instead they have said it will still be allowed in ‘exceptional’ circumstances. As far as I can see no one can really tell what ‘exceptional’ actually means until someone tests it and applies anyway.