The School of Ocean Sciences research on the impact of climate change on coral reefs and sea ice and the School of Natural Sciences research into soil science and forestry was heard in the debate on Climate Change at the House of Lord. Baroness Walmsley, of the Liberal Democrats referred to a letter she received from four children from Year Six of The Rofft Primary School, Marford, where they expressed their concern “for climate change the polar bears losing their habitat”. Baroness Walmsley quoted research from the School of Ocean Science on the “increasing rate of decline of the sea ice of the Barents Sea” and the “feedback loop that means that within a decade that the limit of the Arctic habitat will move further north”. These statements were used to counter comments made by opposing parties that greenhouse gases aren’t the cause of the dangerous and imminent atmospheric warming. Baroness Walmsley went on further to discuss the implication of global warming and the effect that not only will it have on animals such as the polar bear but the detrimental effects it will have on humans.
She then goes onto comment on the research of Dr Gareth Williams, School of Ocean Sciences, on the effect of Global Warming on Coral Reef regeneration, she states his conclusion is “In some areas it is much more severe than previously predicted, the warming effect that would result, even if all Paris agreements are realised will not allow coral sufficient time to regenerate between bleaching effects”. She then discusses the importance and significance of coral reefs to the UK. This statement is then followed by the necessary revision required by the UK government to revise current emission targets to holt the speed at which oceanic warming is occurring.
Baroness Walmsley then further discusses the effect of terrestrial ecosystems on greenhouse gases, where agriculture accounts for 9% of the total UK greenhouse emissions. She quotes research undertaken by Professor Chadwick, School of Natural Sciences, into global greenhouse emissions and how they are increasing at around 1% a year. She spoke about research efforts that assessed the “mitigation potential of land sparing” in a way to increase agricultural yields and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, this research was also undertaken by Chadwick and his team. The study showed that “mixed broadleaved woodland that is much better at sequestering carbon than mono-culture of fast growing conifers”. She also added that if UK tree cover was increased from 12% to 30% by the middle of the century and the restoration of peatland, the farming industry could contributed to previously stated emission reduction targets.
The Baroness’s debate was mainly supported by research undertaken at Bangor University, which is further evidence of the global importance of the research that is being carried out throughout different the different scientific departments. All we can now hope that this level of research is not hindered by future cuts and that Bangor University’