‘The Future of Climate Science and Policy’ – Leeds takes the Lead

In just over 12 months’ time the world’s leaders shall descend upon Paris to, hopefully, create history and produce a legally binding set of emission reduction commitments for all nations. Riding the wave of optimism created by Septembers UN Climate summit, the following weeks and months will see a continued effort to increase the global awareness of climate change issues. The imminent release of the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, detailing the effects of climate change and the available options for adaption and mitigation, will undoubtedly form a key part of the evidence used during the discussions at Paris 2015.

As a result, our very own Russell Group university, an international ‘heavyweight’ in environmental research, will be doing their part in aiding the world wide action drive. On Tuesday 4th November, the university’s Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) will be holding a debate, part of the nationwide 12th annual Festival of Social Science, titled The Future of Climate Science and Policy.

The University of Leeds are privileged to have several of the lead IPCC authors, who are accredited with writing the influential assessment reports, working within the CCCEP. It is these eminent scientists – key players within climate change research – who will make up the expert panel, tackling an array of climate related questions from the audience. Professors Piers Forster, Andy Challinor, Suraje Dessai and John Barrett will deliberate over key issues including the potential future of the global climate system and its impact on regional, national and international climate policy.

The event will be chaired by the CCCEP Director, and well respected Professor of Environmental Social Science, Jouni Paavola. When recently quizzed on climate change, Professor Paavola emphasised the urgent need to make significant progress in greenhouse gas reduction within the next decade.

We have already seen an increase in extreme weather as a direct effect of climate change. © The Guardian
We have already seen an increase in extreme weather as a direct effect of climate change. © The Guardian

‘Climate change will cause adverse impacts on all of us in terms of increased flood risk, increased risk from the exposure to more extreme heat stress, and potential new health risks. Many of these will already be unavoidable. In a world where nothing is done about climate change, inequities to do with climatic impacts and their outcomes are going to be rampant.

‘As individuals we should quickly adopt “low hanging fruit” energy saving technologies such as LED lighting and other measures which make our homes more energy efficient, as well as pursue lower carbon lifestyles. This would not only help mitigate climate change but also aid in avoiding problems with energy security.’

The consensus for combatting climate change is clear throughout the majority of academia; a consensus which is now beginning to spread amongst policy makers. The next step is to convey this message to the general public, making events such as Tuesdays debate a vital tool in spreading the work of internationally recognised research.

The event, which begins at 6.15pm in the Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, is free to attend and open to students, staff and the general public alike. Further details and registration for the debate can be found below.



Dougie Philips

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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