Queen's Lecture 2019
Professorin Corinne Le Quéré: „The interactions between climate change and the carbon cycle and the future we choose“
This year will be remembered as the year the world woke up to the climate crisis – and it’s about time! Climate change is unfolding as predicted by scientists repeatedly and consistently over the past thirty years at least. We can now see the changes with our own eyes, and the impacts look a lot scarier in reality than on paper. But just how did we get here, and what comes next?
This lecture will present the scientific basis for climate change through the lenses of the natural carbon cycle. It will show how emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from human activities have caused the planet to warm, and have set in motion a train of changes in the natural carbon cycle. Every year, the land and ocean natural carbon reservoirs, the so-called carbon ‘sinks’, absorb 55% on average of the CO2 emissions we release in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and other activities. The carbon sinks slow down the rate of climate change, but they themselves respond to a changing climate, by leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere. The latest evidence on trends in emissions and carbon sinks of the past 60 years, reveals the limits of our understanding and the challenges we face to develop a planetary monitoring system that can keep track of the rapidly changing carbon cycle.
The lecture will incorporate in the science of climate change and how it interacts with the carbon cycle, with the evolving relationship between scientists and society during the past decades. It will detail the growing momentum of global political leadership emerging to tackle climate change, the challenges that we face, and offer reflections on ways to bring about the future we choose.
Corinne Le Quéré is Royal Society Research Professor of Climate Change Science at the University of East Anglia. She is a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change and in France chair of the related Le Haut Conseil pour le climat. more
The Queen's Lectures are supported by the British Embassy and the British Council Germany.
The lecture will be held in English.