Frustration and hope at Copenhagen

21 December 2009

In the wake of the United Nations Climate Change Conference on climate change, there is a lot of frustration on the part of environmental activists, climate scientists and politicians. However, there is still cause for hope. Following the summit in Copenhagen, the Directors of several 21st Century School Institutes have been talking to the media about the implications of the new Copenhagen Accord.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Professor Steve Rayner, Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, argued that Copenhagen had tried to tackle far too many issues, in an attempt to create a "utopian deal". He suggested that one big treaty was not an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and implied that the new Accord might provide an opportunity for high-emissions countries to move on to the process of developing a more effective, technological approach to limiting carbon emissions.

Professor Diana Liverman, Director of the Environmental Change Institute, took part in several BBC programmes during the course of the Copenhagen conference, including the Today Programme. She acknowledged that the progress made so far was "not great" and that big emissions cuts are still needed if global temperatures are to be held at a safe level. However, she also drew attention to the fact that $30bn of immediate short term funding will now be made available to kick start emission reduction measures and help the poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and to a new deal on avoided deforestation which will help protect the rainforests.

In an interview for Emirates Business Professor Gideon Henderson, Co-Director of the 21st Century Ocean Institute, spoke about the issue of rising sea levels. He highlighted the fact that current predictions of a 36cm rise are conservative and warned that we could face rises of up to a metre by the end of the century.

To hear these interviews in full, please follow the links below. For more information on climate research at the 21st Century School, please see Oxford University's Climate Research site.

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