Our response to the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

Press release
Rubble strewn across beach
Published : 25 Sep 2019

Phil Dyke, Marine and Coast Specialist for the National Trust, said:

“Today’s IPCC report is a stark wake-up call to global leaders on the extraordinary effects of climate change on our oceans and coastlines.

“We are seeing unprecedented change - from vanishing ice sheets in Greenland to extreme weather events becoming more frequent. Sea levels are rising faster than ever before, millions of people are at risk of being displaced and biodiversity is being damaged beyond repair.

“The IPCC today warned that the thawing of the Earth’s frozen regions could release billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere as early as 2100, which would be calamitous.

“Far from being a distant threat, the melting of the Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets is now the main contributor to sea level rise, which when combined with coastal erosion, means swathes of the UK’s beaches and clifftops are being washed away at an increasing rate.

“Formby, a much-loved beach in Merseyside, is the National Trust’s fastest eroding property and is predicted to lose 400 metres of coastline in places over the next century.

“Loss of land is just one challenge the Trust is facing. As the owner of 780 miles of coastline, we are at the frontline of all changes to our seas – from extreme storms and flood events to the destruction of valuable ecosystems.

“We’re adapting to these changes – not by fighting against nature, but by working with it. In places such as Gower in South Wales, we’re restoring salt marshes that are being threatened by sea level rise and increasing temperatures. These habitats not only provide benefits to invertebrates, birds and fish, they’re also precious carbon stores, locking in hundreds of tonnes of emissions each year.

“The National Trust is determined to be at the forefront of showing how restoring nature can play a major role in capturing carbon and tackling climate change. This is starting with our commitment to create or restore 25,000 hectares of habitat by 2025.

“As world leaders gather in New York to develop solutions to climate change, the UK Government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take a leading role. To seize this chance it must provide the funding and legislation that will restore nature and achieve net zero emissions, starting with a much stronger Environment Bill.”