The climate crisis is the largest enduring global, anthropogenic threat to humanity and the natural environment. Disasters linked to climate and weather extremes have always been part of our Earth’s system, but they are becoming more frequent and intense as global temperatures rise. Climate change threatens every aspect of our world and the impacts are wide ranging from social disruption and economic instability to environmental degradation.
Dr Joanna Jenkinson, GW4 Director, said: “GW4 is home to globally recognised research strengths, world-leading facilities and assets relating to climate. Our researchers have already been instrumental in identifying climate change tipping points and the GW4 Climate Alliance is uniquely placed to address this global challenge, due to both our regional ‘ecosystem’ and the complementary critical mass of expertise across the GW4 institutions.”
The South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit (2016) found our region is home to more climate-related expertise than any other region worldwide and the Reuters list of the world’s top climate scientists (published in 2021) includes researchers from our GW4 institutions.
The complex challenge of climate change can only be tackled with an interdisciplinary approach. The GW4 Climate Alliance provides an umbrella for collaborative, long-term, inter-disciplinary research effort across our four partner institutions. The Alliance’s goal is to understand the impact on socio-economic systems, reconfigure systems and develop transformational solutions.
Climate change threatens the essential ingredients of human life including clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter. According to the World Health Organisation, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from climate-sensitive diseases such as malnutrition, malaria, and heat stress. Climate change is already affecting some of the most vulnerable communities across the globe and the impacts will worsen existing inequalities within society.
Human migration will be increasingly influenced by climate change as many parts of the world become more challenging places to live, due to coastal erosion and sea level rises, flooding, drought, air pollution, heatwaves and wildfires. The effects of climate change also heighten competition for resources such as land, food and water, threatening international stability and peace.
GW4 academics and researchers from all disciplines, including our Early Career Researchers and postgraduate students, working or interested in climate research are invited to join our new Climate Alliance by completing a short online registration form.
The GW4 Climate Alliance will also hold a formal, external facing launch this autumn with an online research showcase and symposium in October.