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Climate change experts to discuss “alternative facts” at livestreamed event

Centre news
Press release

Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, will be part of a panel of distinguished scientists participating in a livestreamed public meeting and debate on Saturday 18 March at the University of Aberdeen for British Science Week 2017 and Climate Week.

The event, titled Science and Climate Change in an Alternative Facts World, will present short talks examining the importance of science and evidence for policy making, the role of science in understanding climate change, the Paris Agreement, and what might happen if the US withdraws from the Paris Agreement.

Prof Forster will join the hosts of the meeting, Prof Pete Smith and Prof Jo Smith of the University of Aberdeen, along with  Dr Jo House from the University of Bristol, Prof Terry Dawson of King’s College London and Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford.

Prof Smith said: “We have seen many recent examples of  ’alternative facts’, where evidence is ignored in favour of a different world view – for example, last week when Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s head of the US Environmental Protection Agency dismissed the overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of global warming.

“Alternative facts are often treated as if they were as valid as real evidence, and during British Science Week  we want to challenge this trend, and to show the crucial role that science and evidence should play in policy-making. The Royal Meteorological Society will release a communique on this very issue ahead of our meeting.”

The event takes place at the University of Aberdeen’s  Zoology Building at 10.00am on Saturday, March 18. Entry is free but booking is essential.

It will be livestreamed – go to this link to watch the debate (10.00-12.00). Participate on Twitter using hashtag #UoAclimatechat

Read the full press release.

Climate change – serious risks, serious opportunities

The Aberdeen climate debate follows on from a communique issued by the Royal Meteorology Society this week, drawing attention to the “serious risks and serious opportunities” presented by climate change.

It states:  “Scientific evidence has led to the firm conclusion that the climate is changing and that the activities of people are largely responsible for this change through emissions of greenhouse gases. Governments around the world have now committed as part of the Paris Agreement to limit future temperature increase. Signatory nations have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.

“The impacts of climate change threaten food and water supply, people’s health, security and economic activity, as well as wildlife and the natural world. The risks increase disproportionately as the temperature increases.

“Responding to the challenge will require deploying the full breadth of human talent and invention, drawing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This will require a sustained commitment to entrepreneurship, research and development, as well as to education and public engagement.

“While the threats posed by climate change are far-reaching, the ways in which we tackle them can be a source of great opportunity and could improve the quality of people’s lives in many different ways. For example, there exists vast potential for innovation in clean technologies. Capturing this potential quickly and effectively will create new trading relationships and new jobs. Other interventions could have the added benefit of reducing illness caused by poor air quality.

“Governments, individuals, businesses, local communities and public institutions all need to play a part if we are to tackle this global challenge and deliver the agreed cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. British Science Week is an excellent opportunity to explore just how the problem-solving capacities of science, engineering, and technology can help us meet the challenges and opportunities ahead of us in responding to climate change.”