The Science and Politics of Climate Change at the 2007 Battle of Ideas conference hosted by the Institute of Ideas. Panelists include Mike Hulme, Chris Rapley, Hans von Storch and Joe Kaplinsky. The panel is moderated by Tony Gillard.
Climate change is our moon landing.' So said Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society, at the end of 2006. According to Rees the task of avoiding catastrophic climate change should be an inspiring and galvanising challenge for the scientists of today and tomorrow. In February 2007, at the press launch of the Summary for Policy Makers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 4th report on climate change, we were told that the human impact on the climate is 'unequivocal' and that urgent action is needed.
The issue of the negative effects of climate change is rarely out of the media and is increasingly portrayed in alarming terms. Politicians of all persuasions attest to the seriousness of the situation and are competing to present their green credentials, alongside business, local government and pretty much every major public organisation.
But what does science tell us about how we should respond to climate change? Are scientists becoming involved in campaigning for particular political responses, and, if so, is this a good or bad thing? Is the time for debate really over, or are political choices being obscured by talk of scientific consensus? Are the threats so great and the science so certain that there really is only one course of action?- Institute of Ideas
Tony Gilland is the Science and Society Director at the Institute of Ideas. Tony directs the IoI's programme on scientific and medical controversies, particularly in relation to genetics, medical science and public health. He has programmed many symposiums, and edited several books on the subject.
Most recently, Tony initiated the Science Education Project, investigating the state of science education in the UK. The project has thus far resulted in a book edited by Tony, What is science education for?, which generated widespread coverage. Tony was recently quoted in The Guardian in response to the evaluations of the new science GCSE.
Tony has also written widely on the problem of risk aversion and defensiveness about scientific experimentation, contributing an article, 'Trade War or Culture War? The GM Debate in Britain and the European Union' to the book Let Them Eat Precaution.
Tony is National Coordinator of the IoI's acclaimed Debating Matters competition for sixth-form students, now in its third year.
Professor Mike Hulme is the Founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK, and is based in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) where he has worked for the last 18 years. His general research interest is global climate change â€“ the science/policy interface â€“ but specialising in the construction and application of climate change scenarios for impact, adaptation and integrated assessment. He has also worked on the evaluation of climate models and on the development of global and national observational climate data sets. Much of his early research career was concerned with climate change and desertification in Africa.
Professor Hulme has prepared climate scenarios and reports for the UK Government (including the UKCIP98 and UKCIP02 scenarios), the European Commission, UNEP, UNDP, WWF-International and the IPCC. He was a co-ordinating lead author for the chapter on â€˜Climate scenario developmentâ€™ for the Third Assessment Report of the United Nations IPCC, as well as a contributing author for several other chapters. He is leading the EU Integrated Project ADAM (Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies) during the period 2006-9, which comprises a 26-member European research consortium contributing research to the development of EU climate policy.
Professor Hulme has advised numerous companies and non-governmental organisations about climate change and its implications. He is co-editor of the journal Global Environmental Change. He delivered the 2005 Queens Lecture in Berlin, and is a frequent speaker about climate change at academic, professional and public events, and for the media; for 12 years wrote a monthly climate column for the Guardian newspaper.
He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 30 book chapters on these and other topics, together with over 220 reports and popular articles about climate change.
Joe Kaplinsky is a science writer and researcher. He has carried out experimental research in low temperature physics and more recently in biophysics. Kaplinsky has worked as a patent analyst on a wide range of technologies including computing, nuclear waste disposal, electricity generation and chemical engineering.
Kaplinsky has written and contributed to debates on many topics dealing with science, risk and democracy. Kaplinsky recently contributed a chapter on Chernobyl and nuclear power to the collection Science vs. Superstition: The case for a new Scientific Enlightenment, edited by James Panton and Oliver Hartwich.
Professor Chris Rapley is the Director of the Science Museum. He was for ten years Director of the British Antarctic Survey. Prior to this he was Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, and before that, Professor of Remote Sensing Science and Associate Director of UCLâ€™s Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He has a degree in Physics from Oxford, an MSc in Radioastronomy, and a PhD in X-ray astronomy. He is a Fellow of St Edmundâ€™s College, Cambridge, an Honorary Professor at UCL and UEA, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASAâ€™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Hans von Storch
Dr Hans von Storch is a Director of the Institute for Coastal Research of the GKSS Research Centre and professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg. His research interests are climate diagnostics and statistical climatology, specifically detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change, variability and change in storminess and related marine variables (storm surges, ocean waves), regional climate change and use of paleo proxy data to study climate variability and change.
Hans von Storch has published eleven books, and numerous articles and is in charge of a number of projects. He is member of the advisory boards of Journal of Climate and Meteorologische Zeitschrift, Annals of Geophysics, and organizor of the GKSS School on Environmental Research. He is also a member of the steering committee of the International Meetings on Statistical Climatology and of the committee for the Eduard BrÃ¼ckner award. He chairs the BACC-initiative, which assessed in 2005-2007 climate and climate change in the Baltic Sea region.
Hans studied mathematics, physics and Danish at the University of Hamburg, and received a diploma in mathematics in 1976. While a student he also worked as a programmer at the Department of Oceanography. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from the Meteorological Department of the University of Hamburg in 1979, and his â€œHabilitationâ€ in 1985. From 1987 - 1995, he was Senior Scientist and leader of the â€œStatistical Analysis and Modellingâ€ group at the Max Planck-Institute for Meteorology (Hasselmann division). In 1996, Hans von Storch became director of the Institute of Hydrophysics at the GKSS Research Centre and professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg. In 2001, the Institute of Hydrophysics became part of the Institute of Coastal Research. Within that institute, he heads the division â€œSystems Analysis and Modellingâ€.