date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 21:06:40 +0100
from: "Catovsky, Sebastian" <s.catovskyatXYZxyzac.uk>
subject: Greenpeace Climate Change Collaboration
to: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Dear Dr Hulme,
I'm currently a post-doc at Imperial College Silwood Park working
predominantly on impacts of global change on natural ecosystems. Recently,
however, I've begun a collaboration with Greenpeace UK to look at direct
impacts of climate change on humans.
Greenpeace are keen to relate global issues in climate change to local
effects in the UK - so that people can better see the consequences of
changing energy consumption patterns. Greenpeace have this idea of
distinguishing inevitable changes in climate from those that are avoidable
if we reduce fossil fuel use. That way, people can recognize how their
actions can achieve something tangible. They'd like to pinpoint specific
areas in the UK that will be most sensitive to future climate changes - e.g.
certain coastal areas if sea level rises.
Anyway, they drafted me in to tackle this from a scientific standpoint.
After some hard thinking, I've begun to think that some of the new IPCC
Climate Scenarios reflect the inevitable vs. avoidable distinction very
well. The A1 family of scenarios reflect a range of emission trajectories
that clearly characterize different levels of fossil fuel dependence, from
intensive use (A1FI) to alternative energy sources (A1T). Using these
scenarios to drive our climate predictions would clearly highlight which
impacts are avoidable if we take action now. I'd been now thinking about how
we could specifically utilize these scenarios to develop some tangible
climate impacts, and Doug Parr at Greenpeace mentioned your name. I think
Greenpeace would be interested in investing some resources in the project if
we could produce some testible hypotheses about effects of reducing fossil
fuel use on UK climate - perhaps start with sea level, then consider rain
fall or temp? In addition, IPCC originally had set up different scenarios
for coal vs. oil/gas dependence (something else Greenpeace are very
interested in), but they do not show these distinctions in the Technical
I wonder if you'd be interested in collaborating in such a project. I'd be
delighted to hear your thoughts on the matter, either way. At the moment,
the project is quite fluid. Obviously, I'd expect to take on the bulk of the
work - but I have no experience with running climate simulations etc., so
I'd need a kick-start with someone with more experience in climate change
modelling. I'd hope that we could benefit from funding from Greenpeace, and
at least one credible scientific publication out of the work.
Let me know your thoughts on this matter. I'd be happy to talk further with
you on the phone, if it's more convenient.
Sebastian Catovsky, PhD
NERC Centre for Population Biology
Imperial College at Silwood Park
Ascot, Berks SL5 7PY
Tel: 020 7594 2483
Fax: 01344 873173