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Climate Change: The Empirical Strikes Back

Monday, 22 October, 2018 

Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland joins UCD researchers to discuss the challenges of climate change

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently published its special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. The report starkly warns that exceeding warming of 1.5 °C by even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

University College Dublin hosted an event in conjunction with the Norwegian Embassy and An Taisce to discuss the challenges facing climate researchers in the face of increasing anti-expert sentiment in public and political discourse.

Opening the discussion panel, UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks welcomed Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Else Berit Eikeland, and commended “Norway’s commitment both to climate research and to strengthening collaboration between Norwegian and Irish researchers.” The Ambassador encouraged the students and researchers present to work collectively to bring about change in climate policy, and extended an invitation to the University research community to collaborate with Norwegian Polar researchers.

Professor Tasman Crowe, Director of the UCD Earth Institute, cited the urgency of improving the climate evidence base to enable informed decision making: “UCD is proud to be making its contribution to climate research. We have researchers across a range of disciplines exploring the nature, causes and consequences of climate change and developing practical solutions for mitigation and adaptation.  This work is done in collaboration with researchers in other institutions in Ireland and around the world, working closely with policymakers, government agencies and with the communities impacted by climate change.”

The event marked the launch of On Thin Ice, a photographic exhibition tracking the six-month Norwegian Polar Institute research expedition to understand the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. Throughout the winter of 2015, the research vessel Lance was purposely frozen into the Arctic ice at 83° North, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The Norwegian Polar Institute completed tests and research activities on the environmental changes in the Arctic, as climate changes are most visible in this region. From January to July 2015 the ship drifted with the ice, as the scientists on board studied the effects of the new thin, first-year sea ice from winter until spring. The Lance spent 111 days attached to an ice floe, and 68 scientists from 11 countries, 27 support staff, and a ship crew of 20 were involved.

The exhibition has been generously loaned to UCD by the Norwegian Embassy with the support of An Taisce and will be on show in the UCD Institute for Discovery in the UCD Science Centre from 11-31 October 2018. The launch event was co-organised by UCD Earth Institute, UCD Institute for Discovery, Norwegian Embassy, An Taisce Climate Ambassador Programme and the UCD Biological Society.