20-23 July 2023 Jodrell Bank Observatory

Our Children’s Cimate

Professor Richard Betts MBE is Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre and Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter. He has worked as a climate scientist for 28 years, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed papers. He has made a number of key contributions to the inception and development of the field of Earth System Modelling. His main research focus is on interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere via the global carbon and water cycles and Earth’s energy balance, and more recently has widened this to the application of a full-system modelling approach to the assessment of climate change risks.
Richard has served as a Lead Author on the 4th, 5th and 6th Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has led a number of major UK and international research programmes including the acclaimed HELIX (High-End cLimate Impacts and eXtremes) project, funded by the European Commission. He is currently Technical Lead on the UK’s 3rd National Climate Change Risk Assessment. Richard takes every opportunity to discuss the science of climate change with anyone who is interested, and in June 2019 he was appointed an MBE for Services to Understanding Climate Change.

Talk: Our Children’s Climate

What climates could today’s children see when they reach the ages of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents? How do we actually work this out, and how certain can we be? With public concern over climate change on the increase, the atmosphere is thick with confusing claims and counter-claims on what the future holds. What does the latest scientific research say?
Richard returns to Bluedot to explain how climate models work, how they (mostly) successfully predicted global warming over the last 50 years, and what pictures they paint for this century and beyond. He looks at the latest estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions and their potential impacts for humans and other species around our planet. Will the fields of Cheshire remain mild and slightly damp? Will the Arctic stay frozen – or rather, how long will it stay that way? What about the tropics – will they simply get too hot for people to tolerate? What changes are now inevitable, and what can be avoided?
Richard discusses which aspects of future climate change we can be sure about, and which are hard to predict – and how even in the face of uncertainty, science can help inform crucial decisions on climate action.