May 2014 - Climate Change: What's happening and what can we do about it?
The speaker for the May 2014 Cafe Scientifique meeting at The Tea Bar will be Professor John Shepherd FRS from the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton University. The subject for this month is "Climate Change: What's happening and what can we do about it?".
The science of climate change predicts global warming of several °C by 2100 if the CO2 level in the atmosphere continues to increase to double its pre-industrial level - and it is now going to be very difficult indeed to keep CO2 below that level. Moreover, the climate will continue to change for a long time after that, even if we manage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the oceans only slowly absorb the CO2 from the air. The big picture is that while global total emissions eventually need to be reduced by at least a factor of 4, global population growth and industrial growth by the developing nations will mean that we probably need to reduce emissions per unit of GDP by a factor of forty.
Can science and technology provide the solutions necessary for this kind of reduction? The low carbon energy technologies available to us can all contribute, but they are unlikely to be enough. CO2 capture and storage from power plants (CCS) and even perhaps from ambient air, in order to allow continued use of fossil fuels, is likely to be a vital development, and attempts to geo-engineer the climate are also conceivable… However, some mix of education, economic incentives and regulation will be needed to make these developments happen, and happen soon.
John Shepherd is a Professorial Research Fellow in Earth System Science in the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton. He has worked on a wide range of environmental issues, including the transport and deposition of atmospheric sulphur dioxide, the dispersion of tracers in the deep ocean, the assessment and control of radioactive waste disposal in the sea, the assessment and management of marine fish stocks, and the ocean’s role in climate change. He was the first Director of the Southampton Oceanography Centre from 1994-1999, and from 2001-10 was a Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999 and awarded a CBE in 2010, and chaired the Royal Society study on Geoengineering the Climate in 2009.
The Tea Bar will be open from around 6:30pm before the talk which starts at 7:30pm, so you can get yourself a drink and have a chat with other participants. The discussions will aim to finish around 9:00pm, though everyone will be welcome to stay around and have a chat with the speaker afterwards ... and indulge in more of the Tea Bar's delicious cakes.
The format of the evening is usually a talk of 30 to 40 minutes, followed by a short break so the audience can refill their glasses, before questions and discussions about the talk. Entry is free and open to everyone, but we do encourage you to buy a tea, coffee or drink (and cakes) at the bar to show your support for The Tea Bar who sponsor the meeting by providing the venue.
Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore and debate the latest ideas in science and technology.
Basingstoke Cafe Scientifique is a free Special Interest Group organised and sponsored by the Active Hampshire Social Club.