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AVOIDing dangerous climate change

A programme of world-class research on how to avoid dangerous climate change was hailed as a success today, as the project reaches completion.

AVOID was established by the UK Government in 2009 to provide scientific advice on a series of key questions on the impacts of dangerous climate change and how they can be avoided.

Led by the Met Office, the research included a multi-disciplinary network of scientists from the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College and the Tyndall Centre through the University of East Anglia, along with other national and international collaborators.

The project was undertaken with Government stakeholders involved from the earliest stages to ensure research priorities and timescales remained aligned with policy needs.

Today around 100 people gathered in London for the final conference to discuss the key findings of the project, the impact of those findings, and potential for future research.

Key findings from the project which were highlighted at the event include:

  • There is a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 2 °C if emissions peak in the next few years, followed by rapid long-term reductions.
  • The later emissions peak, the more likely that techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will need to be developed and employed to limit warming to 2 °C.
  • Limiting 21st century global warming to 2 °C avoids significant harmful climate impacts.

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who gave a keynote speech, said: "It has been an impressive demonstration of successful collaboration between academia and Government. And it has had concrete outcomes. For example, materially supporting the UK's international engagement and informing our negotiating position at Copenhagen and beyond; Contributing to the UN's Environmental Programme with robust, credible and timely research; and supporting the setting of our carbon budgets."

Sir John Beddington, Government Chief Scientist, spoke about some of the key evidence on past and future climate change.

You can read more about the findings from AVOID and see material from today's final symposium on the AVOID website.

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