Academic Carbon Footprints

by Mary Langsdale

As part of our annual criteria, each member of the Sustainability Champions for the Department of Geography was asked by King’s Sustainability team to calculate our carbon footprint. I’m someone who cycles daily, doesn’t own a car, tries to eat a meat-free diet and lives in a shared house with electricity provided by a renewable energy provider. I have to admit, I was expecting my carbon footprint to be fairly small (and even to feel a bit smug). However, when I calculated it using the WWF carbon footprint calculator, I was shocked to discover that I was using 216% of my share (with 100% the average for each UK citizen to meet the UK’s 2020 emissions reduction targets). Of my share, 86% was from travel contributions, as shown in Figure 1. Continue reading

Does the Paris Agreement on Climate Change signify a breakthrough in climate governance?

The four speakers at the King’s Climate event ‘Governing Climate after Paris’ on 24 February presented their perspectives on the outcome of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties in Paris, 2015. They touched upon different aspects of the negotiations but the 2 °C temperature limit articulated in Article 2 formed the underlying theme of discussion. The following areas of interest subsequently emerged: Continue reading

Living with climate change – with or without the Paris Agreement

Mike Hulme
Professor of Climate and Culture
King’s College London

Given what has gone before, the Paris Agreement on climate change is certainly an impressive achievement of international negotiation. But what countries will be signing-up to, should they ratify it, is hardly going to reduce the challenges of dealing with a changing climate. And it has very little to contribute to addressing the chronic deficiencies in access for billions of people to basic welfare services, secure livelihoods and political freedoms.

Continue reading

Why Prince Charles is Wrong on Syria and Climate Change

There is no good evidence that climate change contributed to the
country’s civil war

By: Jan Selby and Mike Hulme
30 November 2015

This week Prince Charles made headlines by claiming that the Syrian civil war was partly caused by climate change. ‘There is very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria was a drought that lasted for about five or six years,’ he told Sky News, adding that climate change is having a ‘huge impact’ on conflict and terrorism.

Continue reading

What does the Pope have to say about climate change?

On Thursday 18 June the Vatican issued the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis titled ‘On Care for our Common Home’. There has been much comment on the news and social media about this papal statement, not least from climate change commentators, communicators and policy advocates welcoming the Pope’s engagement with the issue. I plan to write a longer essay about the Encyclical in due course, but in this short blog post I want to ask whether this Papal intervention really is about climate change – or about something else.

Continue reading