The Australian Academy of Science with 21 other Commonwealth National Academies of Science and societies as part of a consensus statement calling on the members at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to use the best available science to guide action on climate change.

The call comes at a time when research has shown that the commitments of the Paris Accord agreed to by international governments will still put the world on track for temperatures 3°C above preindustrial temperatures. This falls well short of keeping global average temperatures below 2°C, let alone the 1.5°C hoped for by island nations.

According to the Secretary of Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science, Prof David Day, such a temperature rise “would have a profound impact, affecting people throughout the world”.

Sustainability is a key theme that will discussed at the 2018 CHOGM summit in April, with a particular focus on the resilience of developing and vulnerable countries to climate change.

The consensus statement recognises that nations at the Summit have different capabilities when it comes to combatting climate change and, as such, the pathway to staying below 2°C will be different for each of them.

It states: “To meet their Paris targets, developed member countries of the Commonwealth will need to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions at or shortly after the middle of this Century. Developing country members may require a longer time frame, and additional support and capacity building”.

Whatever form this additional action takes, the academies say that action must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation.

You can find the consensus statement on the Australian Academy of Science website, here.