I’ve only been climate change correspondent at Sky News for a few weeks and already the sand feels like an increasingly tempting place in which to bury my head.

Not a day goes by without an alarming headline.


The Met Office’s report about the clear warming trend in the UK is just another one on the pile.

Add it to concerns that the Paris Climate Agreement commitments to limit warming to well below 2C are unachievable.

Or that the Arctic permafrost is thawing, threatening to create a dangerous and difficult to stop feedback loop of carbon release, warming, and more carbon release.

Or that if we fail to do something our world is going to suffer from the mass extinction of species, food and water insecurity, millions of climate refugees, war, new diseases and pests.

Or maybe the final straw for you is that Donald Trump, leader of one of the planet’s worst polluters, doesn’t even believe that human activity contributes significantly to global warming.

Donald Trump could pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement completely if he wins in 2020
Donald Trump could pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement completely if he wins in 2020

If he wins in 2020 he’s going to fully withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.

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In the face of all of this, what difference does the air miles of your strawberries make? Or how much you recycle?

It can be easy to give up.

But we can’t. We don’t have a choice. None at all. Tempting as it may be, the warming sand is not an option.

And so I find myself casting around for something to anchor hope to.

And it is there.

It’s there in the great groundswell of grassroots movements around the world demanding political action.

It is there in the increasing scalability and falling prices of renewable energy solutions.

It’s there in the US, believe it or not, where the Green New Deal – a collective mobilisation on a scale last seen in World War Two to transition the US off fossil fuels – has actually become a key policy pledge of many of the Democratic presidential candidates.

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It’s there in countries like the UK, France and New Zealand passing binding commitments to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Finland is even going for 2035.

But most of all, and I never thought I would ever write this, I find hope in the United Nations.

Secretary general Antonio Guterres has declared that when it comes to climate change, the status quo is suicide.

Antonio Guterres has said the status quo regarding climate change cannot continue
Antonio Guterres has said the status quo regarding climate change cannot continue

He is proving an unassuming but surprisingly dynamic force for forging agreements between nations, and he believes that “climate change offers an opportunity for multilateralism to prove its value”.

Do you know, I think he’s right.

There is no other organisation on Earth like the United Nations, and no challenge so global as the climate crisis.

It has been much maligned as nothing more than a diplomatic talking shop that fails to act in the face of human suffering.

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But on this issue it has been different.

The Paris Agreement itself was made within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the landmark report in 2018 that suggested we have 12 years to bring about the urgent and unprecedented action needed to limit warming to 1.5C.

This provided inspiration for millions of school children around the world to go on strike, pressuring their governments to listen and act.

The secretary general is insistently and effectively bringing powerful countries together in a spirit of commitment and cooperation, as evidenced by the meeting of China and France’s foreign ministers in the sidelines of the G20 last month.

And in New York in September the UN is hosting a global climate summit, designed “to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”.

The United Nations is a stubbornly hopeful body.

It believes in the infinite possibility of human ingenuity and international cooperation.

And right now, I need to believe in that too.



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