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Met Office

Volume 694: debated on Monday 16 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the Meteorological Office has proposed that the United Kingdom renounce its 29-year membership of the European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts, bearing in mind that such a move may mean that the centre would leave its Reading site for another country in Europe. [HL4645]

The Met Office has not proposed that the United Kingdom renounce its membership of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The UK is supportive of the work of the centre and is committed to ensuring it has appropriate levels of funding to maintain its scientific eminence in medium-range weather forecasting. But under proposed budget increases the UK's contribution will grow, in real terms, by more than a third over the next five years. This equates to a rise of approximately £2 million a year.

The Government are committed to promoting robust governance and sound management in all international organisations where the UK is a stakeholder. Through better financial management and procurement, improved transparency and accountability, we believe the ECMWF can continue to deliver its core medium-range weather forecasting mission to a high standard without large budget increases.

The ECMWF council recently considered proposals from the Met Office aimed at improving management and procurement practices at the ECMWF which, if accepted, would resolve UK concerns over ECMWF governance and value for money. However, without such acceptance, the UK would need to reconsider its membership of the centre.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have considered the implications of the possible discontinuance of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts in the light of the current role which the United Kingdom is playing in climate change negotiations at the United Nations and the G8. [HL4646]

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has developed useful capabilities, which we value, particularly in medium-range weather forecasting. However, ECMWF does not have a climate prediction capability.

The UK's leading role in tackling climate change at an international level is strongly supported by the world-leading climate research and prediction work of the Met Office Hadley Centre.