The UK Government is stepping up efforts to protect against the impacts of climate change by launching a four-year research programme focused on building resilience.
The £5 million research programme, called Climate Services for a Net Zero World, will produce transformative advice, digital data and technology to support decision-makers and drive forward the UK’s response to climate change.
A consortium of internationally renowned universities and research institutes, including the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, have been brought together to deliver the research programme, which will help the UK to manage the risks associated with climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves and extreme storms.
New data and analysis will help the Government to reduce exposure to climate impacts such as the overheating of homes and severe weather damage to infrastructure, engage with local authorities on local action plans, and develop international strategies for global decarbonisation.
Earlier this year, the UK’s independent advisor on climate change determined that the Government has not yet delivered necessary improved resilience to the changing climate, as was intended under the UK Climate Change Act, despite the growing impacts of climate change.
As part of the new research programme, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science will help to alleviate the Government’s climate adaptation deficit and provide expert advice and evidence to policymakers, drawing on an esteemed track-record of research across air pollution, weather and climate.
Researchers at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science will report on the latest advances in climate science and explore their implications for policy, as well as looking ahead to the implications of different emissions scenarios.
These activities will aid the development of policies that support a greener, lower carbon future.
Dr Alexander Archibald, National Centre for Atmospheric Science and University of Cambridge, is part of a team of researchers using the UK’s first earth system model to investigate what might happen if we overshoot the Paris Agreement emission targets.
“These are turbulent times but the need for scientific data to support policy decisions has never been clearer. Our partnership will provide new insight into the impacts and implications of future emissions scenarios, which is especially important given the uncertainties presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Dr Alexander Archibald, National Centre for Atmospheric Science and University of Cambridge.
Alongside this, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science will also take a closer look at how climate mitigation actions will affect atmospheric composition – the chemical make-up of the atmosphere. For example, whether a switch to a hydrogen fuelled economy will affect levels of pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and ozone.
“The National Centre for Atmospheric Science holds a wide range of people, skills and modelling capabilities, which put us in an excellent position to study the interactions between climate, weather and air quality” says Dr Archibald.
Climate Services for a Net Zero World is being led by Ricardo, a global environmental consultancy. It forms a key step in the Government’s commitment to limit global warming, prepare for climate impacts and reach net zero emissions by the middle of this century.
Today’s announcement also arrives one week after the publication of the Met Office’s annual State of the UK Climate Report, which highlighted the impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country.
The State of the UK Climate Report, supported by National Centre for Atmospheric Science data services, showed that last year was the third warmest, fifth wettest and either sunniest on record.
The Climate Services for a Net Zero World consortium of partners includes Ricardo, University College London, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research; and institutes supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, including the National Oceanography Centre, British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, National Centre for Earth Observation, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.