Extreme Events and Climate Change presentation 9 April 2016
The aim of the presentation is to help explain the link between Extreme Events, which can dramatically affect our lives, and Climate Change, which may seem less urgent and is often talked about as rather abstract changes in global average temperatures.
About my Climate Change Pages (2007-14) 1 December 2014
I did a lot of work on this climate change website in the lead up to the United Nations conference at Copenhagen (Dec 2009), and in the year that followed. My aim was to create a useful information resource that would cover the whole subject of climate change, which is being intensified by human activities: what the issue is, what it means, and what we can do about it. I also wanted to present you with links to reliable sources of further information.
Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) 1 January 2014
The greatest source of uncertainty for anyone trying to predict how the climate will change is us. How will we behave in the future? Will we take the issue seriously and rapidly cut our emissions of greenhouse gases? Or will it be business as usual? There are a number of Emission Scenarios, which have been modelled to try and understand this. This section has been updated to include the new AR5 scenarios.
The aim of this section is to try and give you a picture of how the world will change through the effects of global warming. There are global consequences from the changing weather patterns, and other associated impacts. What will these mean to you and me? I focus right in on changes we can expect to see in my home town of Reading to help illustrate what climate change will be like. From this you can hopefully get a feel for how much things will change in other parts of the world. Notice that it will make a big difference to the future if we cut down on our emissions now!
Zero Carbon Britain 1 October 2013
The Center for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB) is a vision for our country. It is a very well thought out document that demonstrates a sustainable future for the UK, which is not only achievable but also very attractive. I can see – after years looking at the scale of the climate change challenge with a sense of resignation – this Zero Carbon future really is a ray of hope.
IPCC – Fifth assessment report (AR5)
The IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5) was released on the 30 September 2013. There have been improvements in the science since the last report, with 6 years of more data to analyse and more powerful climate models. It is the same story of global warming. Notably: there has been an increase in confidence that human activities are the principal cause; air temperatures a rising more slowly; but sea levels are rising faster than in the previous report.
What is climate change?
The climate change we are talking about here is the change to weather patterns, which are being caused by human activities (for example: burning oil for energy). This change is serious and goes beyond any natural processes, particularly considering how fast it is happening. It will have consequences for ourselves and for much of life on Earth.
How will global temperatures change? 1 December 2010
Atmospheric scientists use the emission scenarios to predict how much greenhouse gas concentrations will increase in the atmosphere. They can then run Global Climate Models to predict how the temperatures will change in the future, alongside changes in other aspects of the weather like rainfall. Even medium emission scenarios predict increases in average global temperatures by 3ºC, by the end of the century.
New UK targets 1 October 2010
The UK is part of the 27 European countries that negotiate together to agree international targets for emissions reduction. As a group we pledged to cut emissions by 20% to 30% by 2020 in the Copenhagen Accord. If the more ambitious target is adopted, this will mean that the UK will be signing up to a more ambitious 42% cut in emissions. This section shows that this will make a positive difference to global CO2 emissions. By comparison, weaker targets could see us following the worst case emission scenario until at least the 2020s.
Some lingering concerns
There is a lot of positive news about UK targets. If we meet them, and can persuade the rest of the world to follow suit, we could bring emissions down to the lowest modelled emission scenario. We do have a strong government department in place now to help guide and drive us to meet our emissions targets, and there are good plans to help us do this. But we haven’t tested ourselves yet.