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The Museum has declared a planetary emergency, in recognition of humanity's failure to combat our destructive impact on the planet's survival systems.
Climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, pollution and deforestation are just some of the crises caused by unsustainable human activity. These add up to an emergency on a planetary scale.
Prof Andy Purvis, a Research Leader at the Museum on the effects of the biodiversity crisis, says, 'All the warning lights are flashing: hottest years on record, coral bleaching, rising sea levels, loss of tropical forests, wild populations declining, and a million species threatened with extinction. We would be failing in our duty to society if we didn't pass these warnings on.'
Earth's natural systems are groaning under the weight of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The world is already 1.1°C above pre-industrial temperatures. This rise is driven by greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in the atmosphere. We produce greenhouse gasses when we burn oil, coal and gas, and through meat and dairy production.
It is generally agreed that the world needs to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
We are not on track to reach that target. There is still a 2% annual growth in emissions, and they are not expected to peak until after 2030, even if we do everything we can to clean up our act right now. To reverse the damage, action needs to be taken immediately to get global emissions down to zero.
Researchers including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been warning us for years that humanity is heading towards a tipping point. Soon, we will have affected nature so much that it will be too late to control the consequences, no matter what we do, and climate change will continue to spiral.
Police Scotland has today (Monday 20 January) launched a new wildlife crime investigators course to enhance capability in this complex area of local policing.
Wildlife crime covers a wide range of offending from badger baiting, to raptor persecution, freshwater pearl mussel theft, to hare coursing and salmon poaching.
Reports of wildlife crime are increasing and also include cruelty to wild animals, crimes involving deer and hunting with dogs.
While wildlife crime poses significant harm to the species targeted by criminals, it also impacts on the communities who rely on wildlife for employment and tourism.
Every division across Scotland is represented on the inaugural course, which was launched by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, at the Scottish Police College.
Assistant Chief Constable Duncan Sloan, Major Crime and Public Protection, said: “Investigating wildlife crime can be demanding, difficult and complex. Scotland’s wildlife habitats cover vast tracts of land, often in remote areas, where the discovery of a suspected offence can be made days or weeks after the event. This new course is designed to build on our current capability, to enhance the skills and knowledge of our officers in what is a specialist area of criminal investigation. We want to ensure that we have officers who are experts in the investigation of the wildlife crime in all of its forms. Scotland’s wildlife is one of its greatest attractions. Our officers will be trained to the highest level to ensure thorough investigation of wildlife crime. We will continue to work with our partners to prevent crime and to ensure that Scotland’s wildlife is protected.”
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