Belfast Telegraph

World leaders reminded of scientists' role in fighting climate change

Scientists today reminded world leaders of the important role physics can play in understanding and fighting climate change.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) published a briefing note to help conference attendees understand the science behind the rise in global temperature.

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, IOP president, explained: "I hope world leaders will appreciate the major contribution science can make to our understanding of all aspects of global change, including climate change.

"Science can improve our predictions of what might happen; physics can provide critical, objective analysis of new schemes.

"Physics along with technology can develop new and more efficient energy sources, and find ways of minimising waste (of all kinds).

"Climate models are the best tool we have available for understanding changes in climate, and from these models it seems we are entering an unprecedentedly difficult period for the human race.

"Science can diagnose the problem and it can work to remedy it, but it can do neither without support from world leaders."

The IOP have published a briefing note which summarises advances in the understanding of the climate and the work being done to create a low-carbon energy infrastructure.

Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, said: "What we really need now is an intensive international programme of research into low-carbon and energy efficient options.

"It would be great to see the world's top scientists and engineers collaborating on this kind of programme in the way they have, say, on the design and construction of the Large Hadron Collider."

Physics will also play a vital role in producing low carbon energy.

Peter Hodgson, the chair of IOP's Environmental Physics Group, said: "Whether through the basic understanding of how light is converted into electricity in a solar panel, or by underpinning the materials science and engineering needed to build wind and marine energy infrastructure, low-carbon energy generation technologies all depend on physics and physicists for their development as effective and efficient sources of energy."

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