How big a problem is climate change?

How worried should we be about climate change?
06 November 2018





How big a problem is climate change?


Geography teacher Kate Stockings asked, "how big a problem is climate change?" Chris Smith put this to climate scientist James Pope from the British Antarctic Survey...

James - My wife will identify with this piece of pedantry but I always like to say it’s never the planet. We always, when we talk about climate change, we’re talking about particularly us as human beings but also the other animals alive, the planet will carry on regardless. But ultimately, climate change will be as bad as we choose to make it.

The Paris climate agreement, coming up on three years old now, led to a pretty landmark statement and agreement from so many governments around the world and that one point five degrees Celsius warming, of which we've already had one degree of, to limit that by the end of the century would be really huge. If we can do that, probably climate change will not be that bad, very much we can adapt to that. But that will require quite a strong response. We're looking at a 50 percent cut in emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030, and then a complete removal, a net removal of all our carbon dioxide emissions so we take out everything we put in, and we don’t emit anything at all by 2050. So that's really, really, very soon when you start to consider it, you know, it's 12 years to 2030. So it's up to us really.


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