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Avoiding dangerous climate change – a new research programme launched by government

Release Date 26 February 2009

AVOID — a new research programme to advise the UK on "Avoiding dangerous climate change" — is launched today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The initiative aims to further improve the Government's evidence base on the science of climate change and to contribute to securing decisive global action that will reduce and respond to it. It will address key questions such as "how much climate change is too much?" and "What does the world need to do to avoid such levels of climate change?"

The key objective of AVOID, in its first year, will be to provide supportive evidence to UK negotiators who aim to secure a robust international agreement in Copenhagen this December which will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The programme also aims to directly feed into UK Government policy on tackling dangerous climate change and will also provide a better understanding of the potential impacts a changing climate can bring. The research will model future outcomes considering environmental impacts, social and economic consequences, and national responses. It also aims to further support the communication of research on climate change.

Joan Ruddock, Minister of Energy & Climate Change said:

"Government policies are based on robust, up-to-date evidence, and the AVOID programme will ensure that this continues to be the case by providing the very latest scientific understanding of climate change, its impacts and how we can cope with changes that are already unavoidable."

Professor Watson, Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser, welcomed AVOID saying:

"The programme will be providing us with critical evidence needed to further understand climate change and its implications, not just the physical impacts but also the economic and social consequences."

AVOID brings together four UK leaders in the fields of climate science, impacts and socio-economic research in a consortium led by the Met Office, together with the Walker Institute at the University of Reading

Walker Institute at the University of Reading, the Tyndall Centre and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College.

Commenting on AVOID, Dr Jason Lowe from the Met Office — AVOID's Chief Scientist - says "This programme will make the latest climate science accessible to decision makers, building a framework that will encourage integration between climate scientists, social scientists and economists to inform policy."

The programme will initially run until the end of 2012, but it is designed to build into a larger programme that will continue after this date, with increasing stakeholder partners and a wider research effort, involving expertise throughout the UK and elsewhere. It will complement other strategic research programmes, such as the UK Climate Projections - the results of which are expected in Spring.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Funding for AVOID will initially be £800,000 from DECC and £300,000 from Defra over 4 years, but it is anticipated that the programme will increase and feed into wider departmental work.

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