National climate change experts and policy-makers hear from Reading scientists
Release Date 13 October 2020
Climate scientists at the University of Reading are playing a leading role in a national climate change adaptation event, bringing together policy-makers and experts.
The online conference, titled ‘Is the UK on track to adapt to climate change?’, is being jointly hosted by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), the UK Climate Resilience programme (UKCR) Champions and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on 13-14 October.
Professor Rowan Sutton, a climate scientist at the University of Reading and NCAS, is co-chairing the first session of the conference, with colleagues Professor Ted Shepherd, Professor Nigel Arnell and Professor Pier Luigi Vidale contributing the scientific discussion of how climate change is affecting the UK and other parts of the world.
The two-day conference considers how prepared the UK is for the impacts of global warming. Speakers are presenting and discussing the latest scientific evidence, research and adaptation policy, and considering gaps in the evidence and policy shortcomings, with a report being subsequently published.
"Some further warming is inevitable, and we must take the challenges of adaptation equally seriously" - Professor Rowan Sutton, University of Reading and NCAS
Professor Sutton said: “Scientific research has allowed us to make great progress in recent years in our understanding of how climate has already changed and will change further, and of the impacts of these changes, which we are increasingly seeing all around us.
“There is still much work to be done to fill gaps in our knowledge and improve how we adapt and prepare for the changes to come. Cutting carbon emissions as rapidly as possible to achieve ‘net-zero’ is vital and will reduce the magnitude of future warming. But some further warming is inevitable, and we must take the challenges of adaptation equally seriously.”
The average annual UK temperature is already around 1.2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and the chances of experiencing hot summers like that of 2018 have doubled in recent decades. Sea levels have risen by 16cm since 1900 and rainfall patterns are changing. Further change is expected, including at least another half a degree of warming by 2050.
However, the extent of change the UK will experience in the future remains uncertain and depends on global emissions reductions. Based on current mitigation action, it is possible that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C or more above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
Other attendees of the conference include Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, and the Rt Hon George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Follow tweets about the conference using #UKClimateAdapt