Ozone layer success shows climate crisis can be tackled with political willpower: The Yorkshire Post says

The bleak assessment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sets out how humanity is driving global warming through activities such as burning fossil fuels and creating a world in which deadly heatwaves, rising seas and extreme rain are becoming increasingly common.

The report warns the world will reach or exceed temperature rises of 1.5C on pre-industrial norms – a limit countries have pledged to try to keep to in order to avoid the most dangerous consequences of warming – over the next two decades.

Without fast, deep reductions in greenhouse gases, temperature rises will soon exceed both the 1.5C and 2C limits set by countries in the Paris climate treaty.

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But despite the very legitimate fears for the future the report prompts, recent history has shown how human ingenuity can effectively tackle seemingly intractable environmental problems through a combination of political willpower, evolving technology and consumer choice.

A local resident reacts as he observes a large blaze during an attempt to extinguish forest fires approaching the village of Pefki on Evia (Euboea) island, Greece's second largest island, on August 8, 2021. Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffered its worst heatwave in decades, which experts have linked to climate change. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP)

In the late 1980s, the depletion of the ozone layer was causing deep concern with the problem in part being caused by the widespread use of manufactured chemicals like CFCs.

An international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol banned the use of such substances from 1989 and the ozone layer has steadily recovered in the decades since - being reported by NASA in 2019 to have shrunk to its lowest size since being detected in 1982. While eliminating carbon emissions is a far greater worldwide challenge, the ozone situation highlights how effective legislation can make a genuine difference.

With Yorkshire already at the centre of the transition to greener energy sources thanks to schemes like off-shore wind farms in the Humber region - there is still legitimate hope that the world can grasp this wake-up call and agree to meaningful action on climate change.

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A car driving through flood water in Sutton in Cambridgeshire last year. Humans are unequivocally driving global warming - with impacts from heatwaves to rising seas and extreme rain already seen around the world, a new UN report warns. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire