Commonwealth Academies Release Statement on Climate Change

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has joined science leaders from around the globe to call on the Commonwealth Heads of Government to use the best available science to guide action on climate change.

The call is part of a Consensus Statement on Climate Change, launched toon 12 March 2018 by 21 national academies and societies of science from around the Commonwealth, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth summit in the United Kingdom. 

The consensus statement, which represents the consensus views of tens of thousands of scientists, marks the first time Commonwealth nations have come together to urge their governments to take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions during the second half of the 21st Century.  

Executive Officer of ASSAf, Prof Roseanne Diab, said that the greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments agreed to by 160 parties in the 2015 Paris Agreement are only the first step in a long journey. 

“Even if all the country commitments from the Paris Agreement are met, the latest data show that by the end of the century mean global temperatures are likely to be 3°C above pre-industrial levels.  

“This is substantially higher than the Paris target to limit warming to less than 2°C, and would have profound impacts affecting billions of people throughout the world,” she said. 

Sustainability is one of the key themes to be discussed by Commonwealth leaders at the 2018 Commonwealth summit, with a particular focus on the resilience of developing and vulnerable countries to climate change. 

“Recognising different capacities, challenges and priorities, the approaches of each nation will not be the same. But, they must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation. ASSAf stands ready to assist the South African government, and indeed broader Commonwealth efforts, by providing sound scientific advice on issues relating to climate change,” she said.

The Commonwealth Science Academies Consensus Statement on Climate Change, including the list of signatories by country, can be found here. A video on the Consensus Statement can be viewed here (Password: Climate2018).