I could hardly believe my eyes as I read this document from a supposedly reputable UK ‘science based’ agency. This is what people in positions of high trust and high public pay want to push into the minds of youngsters in Britain’s schools. The whole thing needs a thorough debunking, which we’ll undertake over a series of posts. When we’ve completed it, with references to scientific papers and the on the record statements of scientists, we’ll deliver this to the agency involved and report their response. Here’s the opening section.
Climate change – the story for teachers
Questions that you need to be able to answer:
• Is the climate changing?
• What has caused the climate to change?
• How much do we expect the climate to change in future?
Since 1988, more than 3,000 climate scientists, ecologists, technologists and economists from round the
world have formed an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The view of this panel amounts to a
scientific consensus on climate change, its likely impacts and what we can do about it.
In Britain, the key science working group has its headquarters at the British Meteorological Office’s Hadley
Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.
Scientific experts from around the world agree that, whatever we do now, significant climate
change is now unavoidable.
It will take decades to reduce the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Even then,
because natural systems take time to readjust, global warming is a phenomenon that will figure prominently
throughout the lives of children presently at school. This assumes that a concerted international effort will
help reduce the effects of climate change. Early signs are not encouraging! If we do nothing, timescales will
be reduced and the detrimental effects will be magnified.
Sea levels may continue rising for centuries.
Climate change facts
The climate change facts (resources download) are in large print and can be printed out on to coloured
paper or card to display in the classroom. Here they are for reference:
• Changes in our climate are real and are under way.
• The average global temperature over land in 2002 was around 1°C higher than at the end of the 19th
• Warming in the 20th century was greater than at any time during the past 400 to 600 years.
• All ten of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1990. The warmest year since global records
began in 1860 was 1998; the second warmest was 2005, the third warmest 2002, the fourth warmest
2003 and the fifth warmest 2004.
• The record for the hottest day ever in Britain was broken on Sunday 10 August 2003 as temperatures
soared to 38.5°C in Brogdale, near Faversham in Kent.
• Mountain glaciers the world over are receding.
• The Arctic ice pack has lost about 40 per cent of its thickness over the past four decades.
• Global sea level has risen about three times faster over the past 100 years compared with the previous
• A growing number of studies show plants and animals changing their range and behaviour in response
to shifts in climate.
Consequences – general
Climate change will seriously disrupt our lives. While, on average, the globe will get warmer and receive
more precipitation, individual regions will experience different climatic changes, with different consequences
for the local environment. Among the most severe are:
• a faster rise in sea level;
• more heat-waves and droughts, resulting in more and more conflicts over water resources;
• more extreme weather events, producing floods and property destruction;
• a greater potential for heat-related illnesses and deaths, as well as the wider spread of infectious
diseases carried by insects and rodents into areas previously free from them.
If climatic trends continue unabated, global warming will threaten our health, cities, farms and forests,
beaches and wetlands, and other natural habitats.
Consequences – UK
• Climate change will have direct and indirect impacts in the UK. Over the next century, it is likely that the
UK will become warmer, sea levels will rise, rainfall and severe gales will increase, and there will be an
increased risk of flooding.
• An increased risk of flooding, storms and sea-level rise will have serious detrimental impacts on land
transport and marine operations. The provision of services across the UK can also be affected.
• In relation to public health, the secondary effects of climate change may result in increased air pollution
and a higher incidence of respiratory diseases associated with damp conditions.
Be part of the solution
Clearly, global warming is a grave problem. It will take everyone – governments, industry, communities, and
individuals – working together to make a real difference.
These are solutions that will help reduce global warming, and you can be a part of them.
• ‘Americans are driving more in less-efficient vehicles. Sales of sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks
have been amazingly strong considering the recession, and low pump prices are keeping people on the
roads’ – Mike Lucky, analyst for John S Herold Inc, December 2001
• ‘One person flying in an airplane for one hour is responsible for the same greenhouse gas emissions as
a typical Bangladeshi in a whole year.’ – Beatrice Schell, European Federation for Transport and
Environment, November 2001
• ‘The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be eliminated [within 50 years] unless much more substantial
reductions in emissions are made than those envisaged’ – Jonathan Gregory, climatologist at the
University of Reading, April 2004, commenting on the fact that, upon melting, the world’s second largest
icecap could raise sea levels by seven metres, flooding most coastal regions. Plot this on an OS Map of
your nearest coastal area.