It’s now or never: Scientists warn time of reckoning has come for the planet

The IPCC is unequivocal: we must take urgent action to curb global heating and prevent catastrophe. Will our policymakers and the Cop26 conference be up to the task?

At the end of the 60s sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, the camera pans across the Daily Express case room to a front page proof hanging on a wall. “Earth Saved”, screams the headline. The camera pans. “Earth Doomed”, announces the proof beside it.

The head printer looks baffled. Which page will he be told to select? We never find out, for the film concludes without revealing the fate of our planet whose rotation has been sent spiralling out of control by simultaneous Soviet and US atom bomb tests. All we know is that Earth’s fate hangs in the balance thanks to human stupidity.

Related: Scientists issue a climate code red

It is plain that any hopes that might turn out to be not as bad as expected were forlorn

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