It's undeniable - we are responsible for the climate crisis. Many impacts are irreversible, and our planet is hurtling towards catastrophic global warming temperatures. It's time to act - here's what you need to know.
We are running out of time.
The evidence is undeniable – human activity is responsible for warming the atmosphere, oceans and land in ways unprecedented in hundreds or thousands of years.
The climate crisis is already impacting the entire planet. We are experiencing rapid changes in climate, melting polar ice and glaciers, sea-level rise, heatwaves, floods and droughts - with the worse yet to come.
Many of these changes are now inevitable and irreversible for centuries to millennia.
We have a stark warning- the world's global temperature will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the 'danger' limit of the 2015 Paris Agreement as soon as the early 2030s. This is the 'best case' scenario—alternative scientific projections for future warming range from scary to unimaginable.
We are at a tipping point in human history. Only drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions this decade can prevent us from rising global temperatures to a disastrous extent.
The time to act is now.
Our University is playing a vital role in the climate crisis.
We are one of the largest and most successful groups of researchers delivering crucial research on the science of climate change, its impacts and risks, and options for adaption and mitigation.
Many of our researchers are pioneers in their field, with their work underpinning some of the most important international policy decisions in history.
Therefore, we are keen to highlight some of our most significant insights with you. From individuals and local communities to international world leaders – everyone needs to understand the reality of climate change and what we can do about it.
Each section breaks down the essential points you need to know.
Starkest warning yet - the latest climate report
What are we doing about it?
IPCC - the world authority on climate
COP26 and the climate crisis
IPCC Special Reports
IPCC (AR5) report - the foundation for the Paris Agreement
Want to know more?
We've provided some useful links for you. To see the information, simply click on each heading below:
Making a difference starts here, with our diverse undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree programmes.
Study with us, and join one of the largest and most successful groupings of geographers and geoscientists in the UK as we address the most compelling issues of our time.
You will also become part of one of the top universities in the world. We’re 16th in the most recent QS World University Rankings.
Check out our degrees and help us change the world.
Our work supports global initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
We encourage you to read the other stories on our 'Innovation, impact and engagement' pages.
In addition, the following related stories on the University Impact website may interest you:
Adjusting for humanity’s fingerprints
Six years ago, Professors Gabi Hegerl and Simon Tett’s work to prove human-caused greenhouse gasses are warming our planet underpinned the 2015 Paris Agreement. Today they argue we still aren’t doing enough to adapt to climate change.
|Adjusting for humanity's fingerprints|
For decades removing harmful carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely under the sea was a mere pipe dream. Edinburgh researchers are helping make it a reality.
Signals from a drowning world
Melting ice sheets and glaciers are a startling reminder of the rate of climate change. However, measuring ice loss was an inaccurate science... until Edinburgh experts helped change things.
|Signals from a drowning world|
Uncovering the mysteries of the deep
The health of the world’s oceans might be high on the political agenda, but how do we maintain their wellbeing with so much still unknown about them? Edinburgh researchers have been instrumental in a major project that has shone a light into the depths of the Atlantic.
|Uncovering the mysteries of the deep|
Seeing the woods
Getting a clear picture of how much living matter is in the world's forests and savannas - key data in managing these vital carbon stores - has always been tricky. Satellite technology is changing that.
Our research is carried out across our three interdisciplinary research institutes. There are also a number of research groups within each institute. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, academic staff may belong to one or more groups across the institutes.
Each of the following research institutes is a major centre of expertise:
|Global Change Institute||Geography and the Lived Environment Institute||Earth and Planetary Science Institute|
Our School also runs the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) and the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes
Visit their websites:
|Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI)|
External centres and networks
Our research enables people from different institutes within the School, other departments within the University as well as external partners and organisations to work together to address local and global challenges.