Time is running out to save the planet, says new Arup report

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New report makes a stirring call to action to reduce emissions and safeguard the planet.

A new report published by Arup sets out the vital steps needed to reduce global emissions, restore nature and remove the excess carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that have been polluted into the atmosphere.

The report, Reduce, Restore, Remove, says that the evidence can no longer be ignored – that “human activity is causing irreversible and catastrophic changes to our climate”. Urgent action is needed now, say the report’s authors, in order to limit the global average temperature rise to the target of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Reduce, Restore, Remove sets out three complementary approaches (the three Rs) that are needed to stop and reverse the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The report also contains a simple checklist to enable professionals to consider the whole life of their project and the change it drives and all the systems that it may affect.

Commenting on the launch of the report, Dame Jo da Silva, Arup’s global director of sustainable development, said: “It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C, but we need to act now and deploy all means possible to reduce emissions, restore nature and invest in ways to remove carbon and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Time is running out.”

Writing in the foreword to the report, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, director of the Centre for Climate Repair at University of Cambridge, said: “I am delighted that Arup have put climate repair and a sustainable future at the heart of their strategy and purpose. The scale of transformation that is needed is unprecedented – to our way of life, our built environment and how we look after and use our natural resources.

“But the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us what we can achieve, rapidly and on a global scale, when faced with crisis. By working together as scientists, engineers, governments, businesses and communities, we can develop the solutions and take the urgent actions that are needed.”

The report concludes with a call for action, highlighting that the unprecedented change required to achieve climate targets “will become easier to implement as we all make commitments and work together to develop innovative solutions”. Arup says that the confluence of enabling factors and technologies is unlocking opportunities at scale – from advances in green finance and tighter regulations to novel applications of satellite imagery and CO2-based products.

These solutions can also save money, create new sustainable industries and reshape employment opportunities for many. “Rising to this global challenge will result in healthier, more liveable cities and strengthen the built and natural systems on which the health and prosperity of society and our economy depends,” says the report.

Click here to download the Reduce, Restore, Remove report.