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UK Government must ‘protect and expand carbon sinks’ says Humanist Climate Action

Humanist Climate Action has told the UK Government it must do more to protect and encourage the expansion of ‘carbon sinks’ such as rainforests, mangroves, peatland, and permafrost to prevent the devastating effects of climate change. Its call was made in response to a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs on its 2030 Strategic Framework for International Climate and Nature Action.

Humanist Climate Action called on the Government to prioritise and invest in stopping deforestation and replanting trees, protecting peatland and permafrost from pollution and agricultural demands, and ending plastic pollution in the ocean, which slows the rate at which phytoplankton can absorb carbon dioxide, exacerbating the causes of climate change.

Humanist Climate Action also recommended several other policy priorities the Government should adopt as part of this strategy, which seeks to combat the wide environmental, societal, and economic impacts of climate change. These include:

  • Prioritising clean and green technologies in projects supported by international aid.
  • Promoting a reduction in meat and dairy consumption in diets around the world, and thereby also enabling sustainable shifts of agricultural systems.
  • Encouraging the diversification of varieties and food sources to protect against risks to food production caused by extreme weather events.
  • Invest in global vaccination programmes and anti-mosquito technology to prevent an increase in malaria and dengue fever infections linked to changing climate conditions.
  • Working internationally to create recognition for a new category of refugee under the Refugee Convention 1951, for those who, as a result of climate change, are forced to migrate as their land has become inhospitable.
  • Supporting the creation of an international, legally-binding instrument that protects a global network of ‘ocean sanctuaries’ from human exploitation.

Humanist Climate Action Coordinator Lori Marriott commented:

‘It is vital that the UK Government uses its considerable diplomatic and economic power to prioritise a substantial reduction in the carbon dioxide that we, as humans, put into our atmosphere. Preventing environmental degradation and climate change should be at the heart of its international agenda. This involves not only protecting carbon sinks such as our rainforests and oceans, but expanding them and investing in other methods of reducing our emissions. This means both supporting changes on the individual level, such as dietary changes, and working internationally to support green infrastructure development.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read the consultation response.

Read the UK’s 2030 Strategic Framework on International Climate and Nature Action.

Read more about Humanist Climate Action.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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