As global temperatures increase, the impacts of climate change on people and the environment become more severe and adaptation becomes harder, costlier, and in some cases, impossible. Sea levels are rising and warming has contributed to more intense extreme weather events such as heat waves. From our food crops to our energy consumption, we are causing damage to the planet. But there are alternatives that offer a positive vision. Net zero emissions are achievable by 2050 through prioritising rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as well as using new and developing technologies. Scientists constantly look for new ways to reduce our impact on the planet.
Our challenge is to make sure that all the people who live on our planet have enough food and access to electricity and healthcare, while also tackling the big issue of climate change. Science can play a large part in this but it will require rapid and unprecedented changes in energy, land use, urban development, transport, infrastructure and industrial systems.
With the government’s recent pledge to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050 and the Society’s Greenhouse gas removal report laying out a path for this to happen, we are on the road to change. Recognising this, the Royal Society will be hosting five key events across the UK, at leading cultural attractions including the Natural History Museum and Eden Project, to examine the topics that will define our future. From how we grow and consume food, to the biodiversity of the environment around us, the series will review the state of the planet as it is now and what needs to be done to create a sustainable future.
Join us to ask – what are the choices? What needs to be done in the next ten years? What are the implications of not taking action? In summary, how can we build a world where we work with the Earth rather than against it?