On the 29th October, scientists from C3W met with policy makers in Cardiff to brief them on the latest scientific assessment of our changing climate. In collaboration with the Met Office, the Tyndall Centre and the Climate Change Commission for Wales, C3W presented concise summaries of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) released last month.
Prior to the day Professor James Scourse, Director of C3W, explained why the event was so important;
“The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC is the gold standard of scientific consensus on the science of the changing climate. In this very controversial field it is essential that the evidence base underpinning the science is communicated effectively via policy briefings and to the wider public”.
In his presentation James summarised the key messages, in particular that warming, sea level and precipitation will have large geographical variations, and policymakers must look to understand the projections for their area.
He also acknowledged the tremendous input made by climate scientists in Wales to the AR5 report, taking the audience chapter by chapter through the papers and research cited from those working in Welsh Universities.
Professor Nick Pidgeon, representing C3W (as part of the interdisciplinary Understanding Risk Group of Cardiff University) revealed that independent scientists are still the most trusted of all officials in society. Public acceptance of climate change in Wales has increased over recent years, correlating with the higher incidence of flooding in the country.
Natural Resources and Food Minister, Alun Davies said it was important for the Welsh Government to recognise the report’s impact on Wales’ future and that action is needed.
He said there was “no doubt” that climate change was brought about by human activity.
Speaking at the event, Corinne Le Quéré of the Tyndall Centre referred to the process of the IPCC’s as being extraordinarily rigorous. Consisting of 1089 experts, 259 authors, AR5 was 3 years in the making.
Corinne emphasised the need to make the science more concrete to people, especially by reminding them of the risks and threats such as flooding, sea level rise, and the multiple pressures on the land. Repetition is vital if international cooperation is to advance.
The event rounded up with a question and answer session chaired by Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales. Panel members, included Ian Hall, Tavi Murray and James Scourse of C3W, and Dr Vicky Pope of the Met Office.