Reading climate scientists take leading role in new UN report
Release Date 10 April 2018
The University of Reading is the most represented institution globally in the first working group of authors chosen to produce the next world-leading climate change report.
Six Reading researchers in the Department of Meteorology have been named as lead authors in Working Group I for the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Professor Richard Allan, Professor Nigel Arnell, Dr Nicolas Bellouin, Professor Bill Collins, Professor Ed Hawkins and Dr Andrew Turner are among 232 scientists in Working Group I, which will assess the latest scientific evidence on how climate is changing and could change in the future.
A seventh Reading researcher, Professor Chukwumerijes Okereke from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, will also be a coordinating lead author for Working Group III. The 226 authors in this group will assess options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.
"I look forward to working with colleagues from around the world to produce a comprehensive and robust scientific assessment" - Professor Chukwumerijes Okereke, University of Reading and IPCC AR6 Coordinating Lead Author
Due to be completed in 2022, the 6th Assessment Report brings together hundreds of experts from around the world to inform international action to mitigate climate change and reduce its damaging effects on the planet. The University of Reading is the most represented UK institution across all three working groups.
Professor Okereke said: “The IPCC reports play a crucial role in guiding world's governments on the range of actions needed to combat global climate change. I am delighted to have been selected to play a leading role in the next round of the global assessment and I look forward to working with colleagues from around the world to produce a comprehensive and robust scientific assessment in 2022.”
The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with scientific evidence on climate change and suggest ways to minimise its socio-economic consequences. It was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Researchers are nominated by their country’s government and selected to be lead authors by the IPCC Working Group Bureaux, made up of leading scientists from across the globe.
The AR5 report provided input to the Paris Agreement of 2015, in which countries pledged to limit greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 2°C, or ideally 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels.
The AR6 is scheduled to be completed in time for the first global review of progress under the Paris Agreement in 2023. It will review scientific research that has been published since the last IPCC report in 2014 and provide valuable evidence to national and international policymakers.
Dr Phil Newton, Research Dean for Environment at the University of Reading, said: “This is an outstanding achievement which demonstrates that the University of Reading is at the forefront of international science and policy on climate change. Our researchers will now play a significant role in providing the information decision-makers need to tackle the root causes and damaging effects of climate change.”
World class research
The contribution by Reading researchers to the report is further validation of the world class research carried out at the University.
The Department of Meteorology includes leading scientists, some of whom are funded by the Met Office and National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). The department was ranked 2nd in the world for research in Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences by the Center for World University Rankings in the 2017 rankings by subject.
The University hosts the Walker Institute – a community of researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and users developing climate-resilient societies. The Reading Centre for Climate and Justice was also recently launched by the University at an event attended by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It explores some of the social, legal and ethical aspects of climate change.
Research into sustainable design and building methods is undertaken in the School of the Built Environment (SBE). The Real Estate and Planning (REP) School within Henley Business School looks at planning urban communities in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
Sustainable farming and food production is a focus of the School of Agriculture Policy and Development (SAPD). The University was ranked 6th in the world for Agriculture in the 2018 QS World Subject Rankings.
The Department of Geography and Environmental Science was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the 2018 QS World Rankings by Subject. Its internationally renowned academics work to tackle challenges facing the world, including those caused by climate change.
Full list of Reading IPCC authors and chapters:
- Professor Chukwumerijes Okereke (Department of Geography and Environmental Science) Convening Lead Author, Working Group III Chapter 1: Introduction and framing
- Professor Ed Hawkins (National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and Department of Meteorology) Lead Author, Working Group I - Chapter 1: Framing, context, methods
- Associate Professor Nicolas Bellouin (Department of Meteorology) Lead Author, Working Group I - Chapter 3: Human influence on the climate system
- Professor William Collins: (Department of Meteorology) Lead author Working Group I - Chapter 7: The Earth's energy budget, climate feedbacks, and climate sensitivity
- Professor Richard Allan (Department of Meteorology) Lead author Working Group I - Chapter 8: Water cycle changes
- Associate Professor Andy Turner (Department of Meteorology and NCAS) Lead author Working Group I - Chapter 10: Linking global to regional climate change
- Professor Nigel Arnell (Department of Meteorology) Lead author Working Group I - Chapter 12: Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment
Image credit: NASA