UEA professor in climate change warning
06:56 28 November 2011
Javier Delgado Esteban
UEA professors have warned governments gathering in Durban for climate change talks that time is running out to agree a deal over greenhouse gas emissions.
The director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Professor Corinne Le Quere, stressed a deal must be reached by 2015.
To keep the rise in temperatures below the target of two degrees (C), carbon dioxide emissions need to peak between 2015 to 2020 and then decrease rapidly afterwards.
At the moment they are growing by around three per cent a year.
She said: “2015 is really the latest you can start the agreement, by 2020 it is finished.”
Professor Le Quere believes little is likely to happen in Durban, but that should not stop Britain from taking the lead.
“If we don’t take the first step China (the world’s biggest polluter) will not do anything either,” she said. “If the UK emissions go to zero it is peanuts, but if they went to zero this would have huge consequences.”
She believes Europe would follow Britain’s lead and its climate change technology could be exported throughout the world.
Speaking in the wake of a fresh email leak, Professor Le Quere said: “This is deja-vu. We had a lot of emails mentioning the Tyndall Centre and talking about how to communicate the science and it is put on the blogosphere like we are trying to say something that doesn’t exist.
“We are trying to make it as clear as possible. One of our remits is to communicate to society.”
But herein lies the problem for the Tyndall Centre.
It is responsible for spreading the message on climate change, to get us to change our ways, but its name is so synonymous with the leaked emails of Climategate that global warming sceptics use the Tyndall Centre to boost their own cause.
But Professor Le Quere believes they are winning the fight for the public’s support in tackling climate change.
“In the overall discussion of the problem we are making huge progress,” she said. “I think people are asking the real questions now. People are exploring the options, but there is not time at all.
“The man in the street is the person who has to do something. They have to take the decisions although there is no tangible progress in negotiation.”
In tomorrow’s EDP meet the UEA professor whose research is forcing governments to rethink their climate change policies.