World Environment Day: Global pandemic highlights importance of governments working together on climate crisis

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, joins leading science organisations from around the world today to highlight the importance of Commonwealth Heads of Government working together to continue to address the shared challenges of the climate crisis.

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 18 national academies and societies of science from around the Commonwealth launched a consensus statement on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable energy. You can download the statement here.

The statement marks the second time Commonwealth nations have come together and urges our Governments to take further action to continue to address the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and to ensure that global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is environmentally sustainable across the Commonwealth and globally.

Commenting on the agreement, Vice-President International of the RSE, Professor Marcel Jaspars said

“The RSE is committed to supporting global biodiversity and climate change discussions as these important topics are inextricably linked. Addressing these challenges inclusively and equitably in a timely fashion will ensure that the planet will be habitable for future generations.

“This statement, delivered by the Commonwealth academies, again brings these topics to the attention of Commonwealth leaders to ensure they are addressed adequately at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discussions as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) and the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP 15) so that globally coordinated action can be taken.”

Collaboration across societies and globally remains key to achieving our targets and tackling the climate crisis. Pivotal to this is the work the global research community conducts to identify scientific and holistic approaches for addressing climate change and biodiversity.

Taking these actions now creates strong opportunities for human development within Commonwealth countries. These include: delivering sustainable economic growth in high-productivity sectors and providing cheap, clean energy to off-grid communities; improving public health by addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss; and greater public engagement through empowering local communities and future generations. (Commonwealth Academies Statement, 2020)