Month: June 2019

#World Environment Day

#World Environment Day

Yesterday was world environment day, established in 1972 by the United Nations Assembly with the purpose of raising awareness of environmental issues across the board, from global warming and marine pollution to over population. The first World Environment day happened in 1974, themed ‘Only on earth’.

World Environment Day is seen as platform for action and is celebrated in a different county each year focusing on a particular issue. China is hosting this year with the theme #beatairpollution.

The UN estimate that as many as 6.5 million deaths each year are caused as a direct result of air pollution.  They have said “World Environment Day will focus on the theme of air pollution — a call for action to combat one of the greatest environmental emerging challenges of our time.

“World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health.

“The good news is that air pollution is largely avoidable, and its negative consequences are preventable. Solutions are known and can be implemented. The world needs to act now.”

This echoes the Committee on Climate Change report that was issued at the start of May 2019 which proposed setting a target of 2050 to achieve net-zero Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, with Scotland reaching this by 2045, five years before the rest of the UK.

Yesterday Gillian Martin Convener of the Scottish Environment Committee called for greater action on emission targets saying “The climate emergency is real and the stark fact is that we have to take urgent action in the short term in order to address global warming.

Our Committee welcomes the Scottish Government’s swift response to the CCC’s report and the commitment that Scotland will play its part in tackling it.

While the targets are challenging we need to focus on the opportunities and benefits of early action and we need to support those most impacted in making the transition.

This is why we have called for a higher level of ambition across all sectors and for clearer plans to be put in place for every sector so we ensure that our generation can address the catastrophic harm being done to our natural environment.”

Last week the Department for Transport (DfT) announced new plans to lessen the environmental impact of air pollution from aviation.  The aviation minister, Baroness Vere, said “Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving.

It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, one in three flights could faces delays of half an hour or more by 2030.”

It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”

The DfT are proposing an overhaul of how flight lanes allowing for more direct traffic to destinations, rather than the established routes and better co-ordination of air traffic to avoid stacking of aircraft waiting to land.  They claim this work could see planes burning a fifth less fuel, equivalent to 400,000 fewer flights a year, increasing capacity and reducing delays.

Organic movements like Extinction Rebellion and the work of climate activists Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough have promoted a notable change in mood among the general public, pushing all things environmental to the top of the agenda for Governments across the world.

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