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Rapid climate response from science is essential

The environmental threat to humankind is existential. Millions of people who have died tragically in a pandemic will continue to do so if they do not take urgent action against the two crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.Credit: Oxford University

My colleague behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has shown what can be done in the face of a deadly global threat. By producing vaccines that save the world at record speeds, they not only saved millions of lives, but also researched me and the world on both their rapid actions and scientific achievements. Has inspired people. We environmental scientists must do the same in the face of even greater threats than COVID-19: climate change and biodiversity loss.


This is not an exaggeration. There is a general consensus in the climate science community that global warming must reach net zero by 2050 in order to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius. This means that greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem destruction need to be stopped. But that also means understanding how to expand natural recovery, manage our work sites in a sustainable way, and extract and store greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. All of this will be done within the next 10 years or so.

The environmental threat to humankind is existential. Millions of people who have died tragically in a pandemic will continue to do so if they do not take urgent action against the two crises of biodiversity loss. Climate change.. Failure to “bend the curve” on either side means that our response needs to be much more ambitious and swift. And today’s announcement aims to do just that. Our rapid research project, Agile Initiative, has started in Oxford with official support of £ 10m. This is the recognition that science must and can act now, if necessary.

There is no time to be pulled out slowly as usual Environmental research.. The medical community is very effective in responding to COVID-19. Our mission is just as important, if not more. With the support of UKRI, the Oxford Martin School Agile Initiative brings together partners working in the field and researchers from across the discipline to provide rapid, cutting-edge research. Resolve environmental crises in months instead of years.

This is not an ivory tower approach. Agile aims to provide demand-driven solutions through “sprints,” where the first sprint has already begun. Our partnership is the key to this research. The speed of delivery is important, but the people in need of work and the expertise to share. For example, sprints working on the best ways to scale up nature-based solutions in the UK include working closely with farmers, local communities and businesses, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the National Trust and more. ..

In support of Sprint, Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union, said: , Agricultural land is a source of many benefits to society. We believe this project is the key to the right balance, understanding of trade-offs and maximizing opportunities. “

Agile means acting swiftly, not cutting corners. UKRI has the foresight to support us and trust us to develop new systems, through which we quickly provide the cutting edge. Scientific research It’s in the hands of those who need it most, in other words, government and corporate decision makers, and field practitioners. I don’t know if this has ever been tried. This is not “consulting”. We not only integrate existing research and advise policy makers, but also provide new, cutting-edge scientific research at a pace not normally found or attempted in environmental science.

“Policies often go at orders of magnitude faster than research can respond to with support,” said Ian Boyd, a former government chief scientific adviser.

And he said, “While quick response is not allowed to compromise the quality of research, it is much better organized for researchers to draw on their current knowledge and undertake new research in a time frame that is meaningful to policy makers. There is a lot of room for it to be transformed. “

Each sprint is different, but complementary, all aimed at putting humanity on a sustainable trajectory. They include waste reduction, the transition to green fuels, scaling up of nature-based solutions, the removal and storage of other forms of greenhouse gases, and the protection of biodiversity, work and human well-being. increase. I am honored to be able to lead this program. It offers great progress in reversing large-scale biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change. It has hopes for a healthier, more environmentally friendly and happier future.

And we need this now as governments, businesses and people have pledges and plans to address climate change, achieve net zero and make nature positive. Without the science to support such a pledge, they are at risk of being ineffective and even harmful in some cases. Agile Sprint’s interdisciplinary team works together to provide solutions that not only help climate and biodiversity, but also help people and the economy.


A wider range of solutions urgently needed to reach a realistic “net zero” warns researchers


Provided by
Oxford University

Quote: Opinion: A rapid climate response from science obtained from //phys.org/news/2022-02-opinion-rapid-climate-response-science.html on February 15, 2022 is essential ( February 15, 2022)

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Rapid climate response from science is essential

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