Last year was the hottest year on record, and this year is going to be hotter still. What the Met Office is saying is that next year will be even hotter again. People thought there had been a pause in global warming, and that confusion is because the way that increasing greenhouse gases change the temperature isn’t straight forward, it interacts with all kinds of other things like El Niño’s, and La Niña’s which are the opposite. That sometimes gives people the impression that the temperature hasn’t gone on rising, but actually it has gone on rising. The earth is getting increasingly warm and having increasing effects of our lives.
The thing about science being precise is that it can sometimes give a misleading impression. [The 0.68 degree rise in average temperature the Met Office describes]. That is the global average increase, but that actually means that in some places it’s gone up a lot more. Particularly in the Arctic, which is why President Obama was up in Alaska the other week, to point out just what the effects are there, and you’re seeing the temperature there going up at about three times the speed that it’s going up here.
Conferences on climate change are treated a bit like they are cup finals, and that’s really the wrong way to look at them. They are a very slow process of getting people to agree basically to co-ordinate their energy policies, and that’s going to be very difficult. I think what we are seeing is people, where they can, in their own lives, doing what they can. Doing a bit more themselves to make their energy more efficiently used, or to install solar panels. But at the end of the day governments have got to act on this problem, and they’ve not only got to act Nationally they’ve got to act Internationally and that’s a difficult thing to do.