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Exeter’s experts will examine a number of key factors around climate change, including exploring recent extreme weather conditions such as unprecedented storms. 

Exeter climate change experts feature in major new documentary

World-leading climate change experts from the University of Exeter will give a fascinating insight into the impacts of global warming when they appear on a hard-hitting BBC documentary.

Professors Catherine Mitchell, Tim Lenton and Peter Stott will all feature prominently on the eagerly-awaited hour-long documentary Climate Change: The Facts, presented by Sir David Attenborough on Thursday, April 18th.

The documentary is set to lay out the scientific evidence of global warming and the risks that climate change poses across the world, with Attenborough stating that “we are facing a man-made disaster on a global scale.”

It will also focus on the impact of global warming and explore the innovations, technology and actions available to communities, policymakers and the world’s governments to prevent further damage.

As part of the programme, Exeter’s experts will examine a number of key factors around climate change, including exploring recent extreme weather conditions such as unprecedented storms, climate ‘tipping points’ and what dangerous levels of climate change could mean for both human populations and the natural world in the decades to come.

Professor Tim Lenton, Director of Exeter’s Global System Institute, will discuss climate tipping points – thresholds that, if passed, could send the Earth into irreversible climate change – in the documentary.

Professor Lenton explains why if we don’t act decisively to limit global warming, we could pass a series of tipping points leading to greater warming and sea-level rise. He also outlines how there is a better path towards a more ‘stabilized Earth’ with manageable levels of climate change – as long as action is taken now.

Professor Lenton said: “We have failed to act on climate change for so long now, that if we are going to avoid dangerous climate tipping points, we need to find positive tipping points in our social and economic systems towards a more sustainable future.”

Meanwhile, Professor Peter Stott, part of Exeter’s Mathematics department and also the Met Office, explains how the observed warming of climate can only be explained by the effects of human activities through our emissions of greenhouse gases. He also explores some of the key factors behind extreme weather conditions, such as flooding. He discusses how climate change has led to an overall increase in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes, as well as more extreme rain and flooding worldwide.

Professor Stott said: “It has been a real privilege to work on this important programme. I hope it helps people understand better the scale of the challenge climate change; not just the urgent need for action but also that there are many ways in which we can all help to start reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Professor Catherine Mitchell, an expert in Energy Policy based at Exeter’s Penryn campus in Cornwall, also examines what could happen if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees, and major reductions in CO2 emissions are not made.

Professor Mitchell discusses how the future of global energy policy, through greener and sustainable energy supplies, can play a vital role in reducing the impact of climate change.

Professor Mitchell said: “The documentary provides a clear and visual overview of why the world is warming; introduces what a warming world is doing to our planet; and explains what everyone can do to stop the harm to our planet as quickly as possible.”

Climate Change: The Facts will screen at 9pm on BBC1 on Thursday, April 18th, and is available on iPlayer following the initial broadcast.

Date: 18 April 2019