01 January 2020 10:33
Let's make a New Year commitment to prioritise the climate emergency. If we needed any reminding about its devastating effects one need look no further than Australia. Temperatures have now exceeded 40C in every state and scores of fires are burning out of control across the country.Things are so bad that the fires are generating their own damaging weather systems and thunderstorms are setting off more fires. Lightning strikes ignite the dried out brush and forests and cause the largely volunteer rural fire service to scramble to put out the blazes. Seventy new fires have been caused by lightning in the last 24 hours.
Evacuations have been ordered for tens of thousands of threatened residents and tourists. Meanwhile, the use of fireworks for New Year celebrations has been restricted because of the fear of more ignitions. Ten people have died so far, hundreds of houses have been destroyed and ten million acres laid waste. Time is running out for us to take the necessary steps and avoid the point where we lose all ability to control rising global temperatures. 2020 will be the year that Scotland hosts the UN climate change talks. Let's do whatever it takes to restrict our emissions, change our behaviour and hand the world on to the next generations in a less precarious position.