Scientists react to landmark climate agreement in Paris
Release Date 14 December 2015
The world has agreed on a plan to deal with climate change by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, following landmark talks at COP21 in Paris.
The University of Reading, and Reading's Walker Institute, have played a major role in advancing our understanding of the climate and how humans can respond and adapt to climate change.
Below are some of the comments made by Reading climate scientists as the final agreement was announced over the weekend, along with some of the media outlets featuring them.
Professor Richard Allan, Professor of Climate Science, University of Reading, said: "The human race has a climate crisis, Paris has delivered a plan, next begins the hard bit: action."
(Featured in the Wall Street Journal)
Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading and Chair of the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said: "The Paris agreement is the culmination of more than 20 years of negotiation. With it the countries of the world have recognised that they all have to work together to tackle the shared problem of dangerous climate change caused by human activities. We are now looking towards the post-fossil fuel era that will give new opportunities for technological, economic and social development that is truly sustainable."
Professor Bill Collins, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth System Modelling, University of Reading, said: "This is the most ambitious agreement on climate change we have ever seen and if the ambitions could be achieved then this would bring huge benefits to all nations in limiting the damaging effects of temperature and sea level rise. It is very concerning though that the statements on the emissions reductions have been removed. How are we going to reach our objective unless we set out in the right direction? The cuts needed are going to be around 70% by 2050. Until the governments accept this we should restrain our optimism."
(Featured by AFP - via Yahoo News)
Professor Nigel Arnell, Professor of Climate System Science, University of Reading, said: "Today's agreement marks a big step in our attempts to curb climate change. The goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees C - and to work towards 1.5 degrees C - is more ambitious than many would have thought just a couple of years ago. But, as the agreement points out, the pledges that have currently been made are not in themselves sufficient to achieve this target. The agreement includes a commitment to update pledges and make them more progressive, but the text is rather vague on the level of overall ambition: it does not specify a date for the peaking of emissions, and specifies only that reductions should lead towards ‘greenhouse gas emissions neutrality' in the ‘second half of the century'.
"There is a clear need now for the research community to work out what reductions in emissions will be needed to meet the new ambitious temperature target, to identify the new technologies and institutions that will be necessary to achieve these reductions, and quantify what impacts will remain and the adaptations that will be necessary."
(Featured in the Guardian)
Dr Paul Williams, Royal Society Research Fellow at the University of Reading, said: "A commitment to limiting the temperature rise is welcome, but a commitment to cutting emissions is arguably more important."