Reducing carbon emissions not enough to prevent ‘catastrophic climate change’

Professor Lea Berrang Ford says populations around the world need to adapt their lives dramatically to cope with the warming we’ve already caused – even if we do reach net zero.

In an article for Medium. Professor Berrang Ford, Chair of Climate and Health at the University’s Priestley International Centre for Climate, warns failing to do so will put lives at risk.  

Working with the Met Office, Professor Berrang Ford’s research team estimates that on current trajectories, extreme heat events due to climate change will lead to around 10 million deaths by 2100 – deaths that can be averted if we take steps to stay within the 1.5C Paris Agreement target and adapt to extreme temperatures. 

Rather than just studying high temperatures or floods or drought, climate and health research focuses on the details of how we can survive them. 

Professor Berrang Ford

Professor Berrang Ford was one of the authors of the UN’s 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, asked to determine how much adaptation is needed to save lives. 

She argues that mitigation and adaptation measures should ideally work together ‘to provide a triple win: they reduce emissions, help us be more resilient to climate change and improve our health’. 

Professor Berrang Ford has recently been appointed to lead the Centre for Climate and Health Security at the UK Health Security Agency

You can read the full Medium article online: ‘What happens if we fail to adapt to climate change?’ 

Picture via Unsplash/Li-An Lim