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Climate Change Research

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 25 February 2010

16. What recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the scientific case for man-made climate change; and if he will make a statement. (318555)

Last year, DECC and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched the AVOID research programme on avoiding dangerous climate change which assessed the scientific research published since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report. The findings informed the UK delegation ahead of Copenhagen. The integrated climate programme at the Met Office Hadley centre is also providing new climate science research and expert advice on the findings of that research.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. In this country, there has been a broad consensus that the risk of dangerous climate change is real. It is based on broad and deep scientific evidence, with acknowledged uncertainties, that we cannot go on pumping billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without serious adverse effects. Does she agree that, if we are to continue to take the right decisions for the long term, it is important that that political consensus is maintained, and that we should not be distracted by the noise being made by those who claim that climate change is not a serious risk?

I agree absolutely with my hon. Friend. We have seen nothing that undermines the main body of climate research, which goes back many decades and has involved some of the best scientists in the world. Although it is clear that there have been some errors and possible misjudgments, we know that CO2 emissions in the atmosphere are growing at an unprecedented rate. We have every reason to accept that that is the result of human activities. I am pleased that the consensus that it is human activities that are leading to the excessive warming that we see, and to the other climatic effects that we associate with climate change, holds across this House.