UCL News


Latest science requires better policies to address impact of climate change

30 March 2006

Leading climate change researchers and experts from the UK, Europe, US and Canada will unite at UCL (University College London) to discuss the latest developments in the field and the resultant policy implications from 3-5 April at the conference, 'Climate Change and Urban Areas - US/UK Dialogue on Research Developments'.

The conference, which will focus on the implication of climate change for urban areas, is supported by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Science and Innovation Network in the USA and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and has been organised by the UCL Institute of Environmental Science in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

In recent years, the impact of greenhouse gases in urban areas has come sharply into focus following climatic extremes and natural disasters. Research in UK and European universities and consultancies, which will be presented at the conference, shows that urban areas need to be designed to reduce the harshest effects of global warming and to reduce the risks of flooding in these areas.

With many emitters such as industry, buildings and transportation systems centred in urban areas, discussions will consider the effectiveness of urban initiatives, which are now being set up around the globe. The overarching aim will be to contribute to ongoing international deliberations about how to manage climate change most effectively after the Kyoto protocol ceases to be valid at the end of 2012.

The interdisciplinary nature of the conference will bring together researchers from a wide spectrum of subjects. Specialists from the fields of climate change, environmental sciences, urban studies, energy, and health, will unite with those from social science and policy. The conference opening address will be delivered by the Minister for Sustainable Development, Elliot Morley, who will speak on 'Climate Change, Issues, Actions and Policy'.

Keynote speakers include:

Dr Cynthia Rozensweig (NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies): 'Climate Change and Urban Areas'

Professor Glen Mcgregor (King's College London): 'Climate Change Health Issues and WHO Programmes'

Dr David Warrilow (Defra): 'Climate Change Science and Policy'

Professor Dan Kammen (University of California, Berkeley): 'US Research Renewable and Non-Fossil Energy Systems'.

Discussions on Tuesday 4 April, the second day of the conference, will focus on how climate change issues are addressed in the UK and US with regard to the framework of science policy, public communication and engagement programmes. National and international energy policies will also be discussed, including UK and US collaborations in the areas of research and development.

The conference follows the successful UK-US conference on 'Climate Change and Coastal Cities' held in Houston in February 2005, which focused on the problems of low lying and rapidly developing coastal cities such as London and Houston. New policies and approaches to dealing with flooding in terms of engineering, ecological and political approaches were also discussed.

Professor Lord Julian Hunt, of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling who helped to organised the conference, says: "The UK is encouraging governments and parliamentarians to begin talking now and to make best use of inputs from experts everywhere; this conference will make a significant contribution."

To find out more and access the full programme, click on:


Notes to editors

CONFERENCE: 'Climate Change and Urban Areas - US/UK Dialogue on Research Developments in a Policy Framework'

DATE: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2006

VENUE: University College London, Cruciform Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

The conference organising committee consists of Tim Killeen and Peter Backlund of NCAR who are representing the US climate change research community. The UK climate change research community is represented by: David Warrilow - Defra, Vicky Pope - Head of the Climate Prediction Programme, Hadley Centre, P Newton - National Environment Research Council (NERC), John Schellnhuber - Director of the Tyndall Centre, Julian Hunt - UCL, and Alan Thorpe - Director of NERC.