Back to the Future – The Role of Climate Science

Date released: Nov 19 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) climate change lecture series continues next Tuesday 24th November, at 6.30pm in The Mansion House, with the lecture Back to the Future – The Role of Climate Science by Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 

The EPA is delighted to provide a platform for this world-renowned speaker, at this critical time ahead of the Copenhagen talks.

Climate warming has now been qualified by the IPCC as unequivocal. The main factor for the warming since 1950 has been identified: greenhouse gases from human activities.

The habitability of the planet is at stake, with impacts felt or projected on about every ecosystem or human activity. There will be significant, often adverse, impacts on many ecological systems and socio-economic sectors, including food supply, water resources and on human health.

All countries will be affected, but developing countries, which have contributed the least to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, will bear the most severe impacts, particularly their poor populations. One can adapt to some climate change but only up to a point.

The Kyoto Protocol commits industrialised countries to a small reduction of their emissions over the period 1990-2012. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires soon, and the international community is presently negotiating a new agreement to reinforce, complement, and broaden the Climate Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

The main issues and challenges ahead of the Copenhagen Conference will be reviewed during the lecture, in the light of the IPCC reports and of the recent news from the climate system, which are not so good. However the IPCC reports also contain reasons for hope, and these will be discussed as well.

Laura Burke, EPA Director, Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use said:

“Clear, accurate and timely information on climate change is vital in raising awareness among the public, the politicians and among key policy and decision makers in the country.  We feel this series of lectures is a valuable step towards raising awareness about this important topic.”

Attendance at all lectures is free, but advance booking is essential due to the demand.
To book, please contact Clara Clark at:
Detailed information on the lecture series is available from the EPA website and Clara Clake's website.

The climate change lecture series will continue in 2010.

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or email

Editor’s Notes:
Professor van Ypersele is an expert on modeling climate and the climate effects of human activities and is Vice-Chair of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).  This lecture, Back to the Future – The Role of Climate Science, deals with the science of climate change and the current role of the IPCC in the context of the upcoming Copenhagen Conference in December.