Importance of climate change highlighted ahead of international summit in Paris

date16 April 2015

Ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris this November, environmental experts will discuss the chief concerns facing the global community from climate change at the Edinburgh International Science Festival tonight (Thursday, 16 April).

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Supported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), “The Road to Paris” event will take place in the Auditorium of the National Museum of Scotland and will focus on key findings published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014, which emphasised the influence of humanity on rising global temperatures.

With an observed increase in sea levels and a shift towards more extreme seasonal weather, SEPA recognises that climate change has the potential to have a considerable impact on Scotland, with wide-ranging consequences for not only the environment, but society and the economy. SEPA’s Climate Change Plan “Our Climate Challenge” is committed to helping deliver a more resilient, low carbon Scotland by 2018.  

Commenting on the importance of tackling climate change, SEPA’s new Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn, said:

Climate change is the most pressing environmental issue facing humankind today. At SEPA we are determined to help people unlock the economic and social opportunities in tackling climate change. We are pleased to be supporting this event, which will help highlight the issue of climate change and the importance of the UN conference in focusing the international community on the need for urgent action.”

The panel discussion will be chaired by environmental journalist Fred Pearce, with contributions from Scotland’s Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod MSP, French Consul General to Scotland, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, Professor Stephen Belcher, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Professor Corinne Le Quéré, and Tim Nuthall, Director of International Communications at the European Climate Foundation.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod, said:

2014 was the warmest on record in the UK and across the globe, as temperatures are going up, snow and ice are melting and sea levels are rising. Extreme weather is having an impact here in Scotland as well as in other parts of the world.

“The most recent scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests greenhouse gas emissions from humankind are extremely likely to be the dominant cause.

“The science is undisputable, climate change is happening now. This is why the Scottish Government has put in place a comprehensive package of policies and measures to meet our world-leading emission reductions targets, backed by almost £1 billion of funding over two years.”


Notes to editors

To coincide with the event, SEPA has published the first in a series of climate change fact sheets, which focus on areas of the environment at risk from rising global temperatures. The first fact sheet details the specific impact on water scarcity and the challenges faced by industry and society from potential shortages. More information on the fact sheet can be found here.

Further information on the EISF “Road to Paris” event and climate change reports referenced above can be found via the following links: