Climate change

Climate change

What’s the challenge?

Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain a high percentage of carbon and burning them releases carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere resulting in global temperature rises. Rises in temperature increase the likelihood of extreme weather events such as storms, droughts, heat waves and floods. Changes in temperature can also have impacts on agriculture and food prices, infrastructure, human health and human and animal migration patterns.

What is climate change?

“Climate change is a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns or average temperatures.” Met Office, 2015

How is climate change impacting on the UK? And how are we adapting?

The UK Government’s overriding priorities with regards to energy policy are to deliver secure, reliable, clean, affordable energy. This presents policy-makers in Government with a ‘trilemma’: how can the UK decarbonise its energy system to meet the legally binding targets under the Climate Change Act and international commitments, whilst ensuring both security of supply and that energy is affordable for consumers? Panellists at the Policy Forum event held in November 2016, considered the dimensions of this ‘trilemma’, how this can be delivered upon in the context of the UK’s vote to leave the EU (‘Brexit’) and the importance of scale when designing energy policy.

Further background and context for the discussion can be found on the 21st Century Challenges blog, whilst all the outputs from the evening can be found on the past events page.

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) also held a panel discussion on 10 November 2015 to discuss the issue.

Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment and Energy analyst
Roger Harrabin has broadcast on environmental issues since the 1980s and has won many awards in print, TV and radio. In September 2010 he presented Uncertain Climate, a highly-praised two-part documentary on Radio 4, which examined media depictions of climate change. Later that year he completed a documentary outlining the difficulties faced by organisers and delegates at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Roger has more recently, in November 2016, chaired a 21CC Policy Forum focusing on  Achieving sustainable flood-risk management in the UK’. 

Professor Frans Berkhout, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy and Professor of Environment, Society and Climate, King’s College London
Frans Berkhout is Professor of Environment, Society and Climate in the Department of Geography, King’s College London. One of his specialisms is climate change adaptation and the incentives, constraints and limits to adaptation by organisations and other social actors. He was a lead author in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (2007) and former Interim Director of the Future Earth programme based at the International Council for Science in Paris.

Chris Goodall, businessman and author
Chris Goodall is the author of books including ‘How to live a low carbon life: the Individual’s Guide to Stopping Climate Change ‘ which won the 2007 Clarion award for non-fiction. He owns and operates the website Carbon Commentary, part of the Guardian Environment Network.

Sarah McAdam, Delivery Director, Transition Network
Sarah coordinates the Transition Network, a charitable organisation who aim to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they create initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions. Sarah has had a varied public service career in housing, criminal justice and rural development.

Climate impact


Further reading

What shapes perceptions of climate change? New research since 2010, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 2016

Glaciers melting worldwide, Geographical Magazine, August 2015

Prehistoric caves provide clues to climate change, Geographical Magazine, July 2015

Defining the human age, Geographical Magazine, May 2015

The tide is turning: the impact of climate change, Geographical Magazine, March 2014

The Stabilisation wedge theory: using current technologies to manage climate emissions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s