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Climate Change

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will re-assess his estimate of the rate of global warming to take account of data demonstrating that the 2008-09 winter was the coldest in the UK for almost 20 years. (267253)

The rate of global warming is reflected in the long-term trend in global average temperature. Observations collated at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the university of East Anglia Climate Research Unit indicate that this rate has been approximately 0.13° C per decade over the past 50 years. Natural weather variability will always mean that, despite the presence of an underlying warming trend, some colder than average winters will occur in the UK. These events are fully consistent with our understanding of climate change and are included in the underlying dataset that is used to calculate the rate of global warming at the end of each calendar year. However, they do not have a significant effect on the long-term trend in global average temperature and thus do not necessitate a change in our estimate of the rate of global warming. Furthermore, the scientific evidence indicates that global average temperatures will continue to rise in the long-term if greenhouse gas emissions continue.