Category Archives: in the media

Selected reference to Kevin Anderson’s research in the media

BBC & Independent use comments about the IPCC summary

27-29 Sept. 13 Following quote used variously by the BBC, Independent & others

The latest IPCC report from leading climate change scientists offers neither surprises nor solace to our fossil-fuel hungry world. The science message for policy-makers, business leaders and civil society has changed very little during the last twenty years. True, small adjustments and refinements have occurred – but this is a mature science. What has changed significantly since the last report, however, is that we have pumped an additional 200 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Annual emissions are now 60% higher than at the time of the first report in 1990 and atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest they have been for over 2 million years.

So what are we doing to reverse this reckless growth in emissions? Record levels of investment in North Sea oil, tax breaks for shale gas (another high-carbon energy source), investment in oil from tar sands and companies preparing to drill beneath the Arctic. Against this backdrop, the Treasury is pushing for over 30 new gas power stations, whilst the government supports further airport expansion and has dropped its 2030 decarbonisation target – all this alongside beleaguered plans for a few wind farms and weak energy efficiency measures.

Governments, businesses and high-emitting individuals around the world face a stark choice: to reduce emissions in line with the clear message of the IPCC report, or continue to favour high-carbon activities at the expense of both climate-vulnerable communities and future generations.

BBC News Viewpoints: Reactions to the UN climate report

The Independent IPCC report: The financial markets are the only hope in the race to stop global warming I disagree fundamentally with premise of this piece: see Why carbon prices can’t deliver the 2°C target

Prime minister misleads the public about energy prices and shale gas

6th Sept. DECC won’t back Cameron’s fracking price promise  Ecologist

The Prime Minister risks misleading the public when he asserts that UK shale gas is likely to reduce energy bills. Anderson notes  “Everyone who understands the fossil fuel industry … knows that Cameron is incorrect” – a view echoed when Lord Stern’s suggests Cameron’s assessment is premised on “baseless economics”.

Climate expert who arrived by ferry gives advice on climate change at Stormont

8 Feb. 2013 Climate change advice for Northern Ireland ministers  Belfast Telegraph

An account of a presentation given by Kevin Anderson at Stormont (seat of Northern Ireland’s government) outlining potential climate change impacts for Northern Ireland and six proposals for how Members of the Legislative Assembly (Northern Ireland’s MPs) could translate their rhetoric on climate change  into meaningful action.

Climate policy based on naive assumptions in modelling the 2°C target

6 Feb 2013  Climate policy based on naive assumptions  environmentalresearchweb

Liz Kalaugher, editor of the Institute of Physics’ environmentalresearchweb, reports on the Cabot 2012 Annual Lecture “Real clothes for the emperor: facing the challenges of climate change”.

In his presentation Anderson argues scientists at the interface of climate and policy commonly use naive assumptions when modelling the 2°C target. “Integrated assessment models typically use similar and inappropriate sets of assumptions, and so repeatedly come up with the same narrow and fundamentally flawed answers.” He suggests assumptions are massaged to give a more palatable picture. “We’ve underplayed everything we can – done exactly what the sceptics have said – but in reverse”.

Asked if those like James Hansen are too extreme, he notes how it is important to use extreme adjectives when they appropriately reflect the ‘extreme’ conclusions of our analysis. Many climate scientists use words like “challenging” and “doable” in relation to a 2°C limit for temperature rise – it all sounds too feasible and does not acknowledge the scale of radical change forthcoming from the  analysis.



Manchester facing apocalyptic future, says climate change expert

6 Feb 2013 Manchester faces apocalyptic future  Manchester Evening News

Journalist picks out the more extreme elements of a lengthy presentation to Manchester City Council  – nevertheless, the story does portray the broad framing of the future we are heading for if we continue our abject failure to control even the rate of emissions growth. Unfortunately the article neglects to mention the more positive message that there is a lot we can all do to avoid such a future.

Apocalypse Now – City Leader’s account of Anderson’s presentation

30 Jan 2013 – Apocalypse Now – Richard Leese’s Leader’s Blog

“…  every full Council meeting … starts … with an external speaker on a subject of topical interest. Yesterday Council members were blitzed with a truly shocking and apocalyptic address from Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Energy Programme at the University of Manchester. Professor Anderson is a scientist working in the field of climate change, and what he told us is that a world that is still talking about containing average temperature increases to 2degreesC, is sleep-walking towards 4degreesC and possibly even higher with disastrous consequences for the planet as we know it. It’s not just Kevin that think that as he cited sources, rather sober and conservative sources, like the President of the World Bank, who think similarly.

One of the devices that governments use to put off decision making is the use of 2050 targets for reducing carbon emissions, and Professor Anderson made the point that carbon emitted now will still be in the atmosphere by 2050, and if we want to have any chance of keeping the rise between 2 and 4degrees we have to act now.

We can’t do that by simply bringing in alternative low/no carbon energy supplies. We have to do that but the scale of investment required and the length of time to deliver that would mean that only tackling the supply side would be too late. We need to tackle demand and we can do things about that immediately and that probably means everybody reading this blog. It doesn’t mean everybody. I might not get the figures quite right but around 50% of the emissions in this country are caused by less than 5% of the population and it’s not the poorest in our society. As the recent Great Manchester Poverty Commission Report made clear, a report Professor Anderson described as a report about low carbon people written by high carbon people, there is a fundamental issue of equity here. It is rich people, rich countries that have to turn down the lights.

I’m sure there are other climate change scientists who would take issue with some even much of what Kevin said, but how much of a gamble do we want to take with our future and our childrens future?”

Why do we play down the horrors of climate change?

Oct 2012 Why do we play down the horrors of climate change?  The Guardian – Jonathon Porritt.

In his article, Jonathon Porritt, refers to the latest broadside from the redoubtable Kevin Anderson at Manchester University, taking to task the vast majority of climate scientists for their mealy-mouthed inability to tell it as it really is: “Contrary to the claims of many climate sceptics, scientists repeatedly and severely underplay the implications of their analyses …”