The future of climate science advice for policy

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Speech by Sir Mark Walport at the Royal Society on 2 October 2013.

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  • What are the global policy responses? Do nothing Mitigate Adapt Geoengineer (or a combination thereof) And what can science contribute?
  • What are the global policy responses? Do nothing Mitigate Adapt Geoengineer (or a combination thereof) And what can science contribute?
  • From a working paper on summary findings from a survey from March 2013 on public attitudes to nuclear energy and climate change two years after Fukushima, conducted for the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)
  • Innovation will also be an important factor in cost reduction (draw on some ETI examples – the very long wind turbine blade)
  • The future of climate science advice for policy

    1. 1. The Future of Climate Science Advice for Policy Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government
    2. 2. Scientific Communications Policy There are three challenges relating to climate change 2 The future of climate science advice for policy (Credit: Reuters)
    3. 3. Mitigate Adapt Suffer 3 The future of climate science advice for policy There are three possible policy responses to climate change (Credit: Harvey McDaniel) (Credit: Reuters) (Credit: iStockphoto)
    4. 4. The policy challenge: Viewing difficult issues through lenses 4 Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Parkhill et al, Transforming the Energy System – Public Values, Attitudes and Acceptability, 2013 (UKERC) (Credit: Thomas Shahan/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)
    5. 5. 5 The future of climate science advice for policy Source: Poortinga et al (2013) As far as you know, do you personally think that the world’s climate is changing? (in %) There is scientific consensus that the climate is changing, but the public is divided Concern about climate change (in %) Possible Explanations • Global economic downturn • Sceptic voices in the media • Increasing climate fatigue
    6. 6. Communicating complex information is challenging Mitigation/adaptation, Discount rate, pH, Gigatonnes, Petagrams, Billion tonnes (of carbon, carbon dioxide), PPM, eqCO2, Attribution, Negative emissions, Climate sensitivity, Anthropogenic, Multi-decadal oscillation, Datasets, Urban heat island... Switch off words…. Excellent in one context, challenging in public engagement!
    7. 7. Climate policy: Mitigation through reducing emissions ……..7 The future of climate science advice for policy In the UK we have legislation to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The 2011 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties have agreed to negotiate a global deal on emissions by 2015. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report will be important evidence in this process. (Credit: UNFCCC)
    8. 8. 8 Climate Change: Challenges for Science and Policy Science, technology and innovation: Challenges, and opportunities (Credit: Stacey Peak Media) (Credit: Blade Dynamics) (Credit: Bellona)
    9. 9. Climate policy: Adaptation to the impacts which are likely inevitable 9 The future of climate science advice for policy The 2012 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment identified risks across sectors, including agriculture, forestry, health, buildings and infrastructure There are practical steps we can take to be more resilient to future climate (Credit: Adelaide Advertiser) (Credit: smatlin blogspot) (Credit: Daily Mail)(Credit: IES JRC) (Credit: iStockphoto)
    10. 10. Next steps for climate science ……..10 The future of climate science advice for policy • Measure the present • Improve understanding of complexity • Continue to refine models • Communicate effectively (Credit: BODC) (Credit: Reuters) (Credit: Michael Jastremski/CC-BY-SA-2.0)
    11. 11. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. We apologise for any errors or omissions in the included attributions and would be grateful if notified of any corrections that should be incorporated in future versions of this slide set. We can be contacted through enquiries@bis.gsi.gov.uk . @uksciencechief www.bis.gov.uk/go-science

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