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How bad could it get? China and the UK study the impact of climate change


What will climate change do to biodiversity, forestry and agriculture? What will its impact be on patterns of disease, water resources and air quality? Leading climate change experts from the UK and China meet in Beijing to look at the latest predictions to emerge from computer modelling studies.

"Climate change is a global problem that cannot be tackled by any one country acting alone. British and Chinese scientists need to draw from each other’s research to understand more about the impacts of climate change. This is why it is so important to be here," said Steven Wilson, the Natural Environment Research Council’s Director for Science and Innovation.

In the first UK-China workshop of its type, which takes place on 18-21 July at the Chinese Meteorological Administration in Beijing, 30 Chinese and 14 British experts look at the likely future impacts of climate change on regional patterns of rainfall, sea level and storm surges under different carbon emissions scenarios. How farmers might adapt to climate change is also on the agenda.

The meeting kicks off with the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) signing their first ever agreement to co-operate in environmental research. The outcomes of this workshop will be discussed at a follow-up conference in the UK in November.

Climate change is high on the agenda during the UK’s presidencies of the G8 group and the EU in the second half of this year. British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees climate change as “probably, long-term, the single most important issue we face as a global community”.

The Beijing workshop’s objectives are to present UK and Chinese approaches to issues such as building atmospheric and regional climate models; quantifying the impacts of climate change on the environment and on humans, and discussing likely adaptation of species and habitats and options for mitigation of the worst climate-change effects. Recommendations will also be made for continuing China-UK research co-operation this area.

This workshop is part of the UK-China Partners in Science series of activities in China in 2005, a joint initiative backed by both the UK and the Chinese governments to increase scientific collaboration between the two countries.

Marion O’Sullivan | alfa
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