Blogs

The UK's Rainy Winter: Climate Changed?

We always expect a bit of rain over winter in the UK, but this year the rain hasn’t seemed to stop, this December and January particularly have been exceptionally wet. Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s chief scientist has said ‘for England and Wales this was one of, if not the most, exceptional periods of winter rainfall in at least 248 years.” The severe weather here in the UK has coincided with particularly cold spells on the other side of the Atlantic in Canada and the USA. But what has been driving it?

 

Cutting carbon emissions or hiding them?

A draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases warming the planet grew twice as fast in the first decade of the 21st century as they did during the previous three decades. Much of that rise was due to the burning of coal, and much of that coal was used to power factories in China and other rising economies that produce goods for US and European consumers. The Guardian reports on this here, but the most striking thing about this is that it shouldn't be news: we know all about our 'consumption emissions' but sweep them under the carpet, preferring to focus on the fossil fuels we actually burn in this country. The 'Carbon Omissions' animation, created last year by PIRC, sets it out neatly:
 
 

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