TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2009, illustrated talk by the former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). the late Sir John Houghton was an authoritative, experienced and knowledgeable speaker who has been involved in climate research for decades .
There was no admission charge but donations will be requested to cover expenses and for the John Ray Initiative – of which Sir John is President.
Sir John started investigating global warming more than 40 years ago, after joining the department of atmospheric physics at Oxford University. He was head of the Meteorological Office for 8 years; the United Kingdom’s national weather service. From 1988 until his semi-retirement in 2002, he was one of the leaders of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body created by the United Nations 20 years ago to study global warming. Houghton had to coordinate the efforts of more than 2,000 scientists from dozens of countries. Largely because of the efforts of Houghton’s group, the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
“More and more as I worked on the IPCC reports, I began to examine the consequences of what we in the developed world were doing, and I realized that global warming was something the rich were responsible for,” he says. “The moral imperative to do something about it is very, very strong. The developed world has to take the first action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence is that 2 degrees of warming is about the limit. Are we running out of time? The answer is Yes. If we want to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees, the peak in our emission of greenhouse gases has to occur in 2015. We have six years. Now, is that going to happen? If there is political will, we’ll do it.”