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expert reaction to The State of the Climate in 2019

The World Meteorological organisation has published their The State of the Climate in 2019 report.


Prof Rowan Sutton, Director of Climate Science at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, said:

“This comprehensive and thorough WMO report contains no major surprises: climate change continues as expected, and its global effects are ever more evident and serious. If the trend in surface temperature over recent decades is sustained, we are on track to cross 1.5C above pre-industrial levels before 2050, with considerably more warming to follow.”


Prof William Collins, Professor of Meteorology, University of Reading, said:

“These latest data from the WMO are the most comprehensive assessment we have of the state of the climate. Worryingly (but entirely expected from our physical understanding) global temperatures are on an ever-upward trend. This report also highlights what this means for us personally through the effects that are already being felt on people’s health and loss of crops.

“The most concerning finding is that CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions are continuing to rise. To avoid the worst dangers of climate change we need urgently to turn this around so that emissions fall rapidly and shrink to zero by the middle of the century.”


Prof Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said:

“Earth’s ongoing warming is in keeping with the science of climate change.

“The reporting of another very hot year could become just a footnote in the news, for many met with a shrug of the shoulders. That is dangerous because if warming continues, severe difficulties are expected in responding to climate impacts.

“Although some will be blasé with this news, it will cause deep concern for many younger people, scared of the future climate change they might have to live through.

“This might sound naive, but surely in today’s highly connected world, enough minds can come together to invent technologies to slow warming, and with solutions satisfactory to the majority of society?”


Prof Brian Hoskins, Chair of the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said:

“It is a catalogue of weather in 2019 made more extreme by climate change, and the human misery that went with it. It points to a threat that is greater to our species than any known virus – we must not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible.”


Prof Dave Reay, Chair in Carbon Management and Executive Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, University of Edinburgh, said:

“This annual litany of climate change impacts and inadequate global responses makes for a gut-wrenching read. Writ large is the ‘threat multiplier’ effect that is climate change on the biggest challenges faced by humanity and the world’s ecosystems in the 21st century.

“Several factors are causing the renewed rise in global hunger – economic shocks and conflict play major roles – but climate change is now exacerbating these; hitting yields of staple crops and stretching food supply chains to breaking point.

“With just 10 years left to deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there’s one goal for which we are way off course and that now threatens to pull the rug out from under all the others. It’s number 13. It’s climate change.”


Declared interests

Profs Reay: nothing to declare

Prof Hoskins: nothing to declare

No others received

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