The South West’s Green MEP has warned that failure to agree a deal on keeping the planet to less than 2 degrees of warming could lead to grave consequences for the region. In a new video message ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, Molly Scott Cato has said that failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions could have devastating impacts on people, places, landscapes and wildlife across the region.

Dr Scott Cato points to the changes in the climate the South West has experienced over the last 50 years, including an increase in average daily temperatures of almost one and a half degrees, more winter rainfall and drier summers and warns these changes could have serious impacts across the region. She says:

“In recent years we have seen severe flooding in the South West, damaging homes and livelihoods, disrupting crucial road and rail infrastructure and causing emotional trauma. We have witnessed storm surges washing away parts of our iconic coastline.

“These are just the sort of impacts that are likely to become increasingly frequent as our climate becomes more disrupted and destabilised by higher temperatures. We will likely see impacts on our tourism industry through coastal change; impacts on health such as increased likelihood of heat stroke and skin cancers, and effects on biodiversity due to changes in the availability of water and changing natural habitats and landscapes.”

Dr Scott Cato says she is optimistic that an historic agreement can be reached in Paris and believes the South West can lead the way in demonstrating how to transform to a green economy. She says:

“We need to see a transformation to the way our economy works in a relatively short space of time. As Greens we want to see 100% renewable energy by 2050, an end of fossil fuel subsidies and investment redirected towards creating a green economy. Earlier this year I commissioned a report which concluded that our region could demonstrate this transformation, producing more that 100% of its energy needs from renewables, creating 122,000 new quality jobs in the process and adding £14bn to the regional economy.”

Molly Scott Cato urges individuals to be part of the transformation to a low carbon economy through lifestyle choices and being careful where we put our money. She calls on people to make their voices heard through letters, petitions, or attending local events, to demonstrate to elected representatives at local, national and European levels that firm action on climate change is urgently needed. She particularly urges people to join one of the many climate marches taking place, particularly now the large demonstration in Paris has been cancelled amid security risks. As well as the climate march in London, a large event is planned in Bristol on 29th November but there are a variety of events planned around the region. Dr Scott Cato concludes:

“The earth is on loan to us from future generations. We have a duty to safeguard it and pass it back to them in a habitable state. The next few weeks will decide whether we are worthy of such responsibility.”

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