Global Change

The Afar rift in Ethiopia

The Global Change research theme brings together expertise across the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Arts, and Social Sciences and Law to deliver leading, multidisciplinary research on climate change and the environment.

Bristol is home to a large, diverse and successful community of scholars focused on improving our understanding of climate and environmental change processes. Our aim is to use this knowledge to better predict future changes, including their impact on all aspects of human society, and to help develop the technological and policy tools required for society to address environmental and related economic concerns.

With the growing consensus about the reality of human-induced climate change, we urgently need to better understand its likely consequences and evaluate this in the context of natural, past variability. For example, even a modest increase in temperature of the order of a fraction of a degree can cause major changes to the functioning of ecosystems and can fundamentally alter our weather patterns. Such changes are manifest in an increasing intensity of tropical cyclones and the prevalence of flooding and drought events.

With the growing consensus about the reality of human-induced climate change, we urgently need to better understand its likely consequences and evaluate this in the context of natural, past variability.

There is a need for action to develop a globally sustainable environmental and economic future in which resources are used in a way and at a rate that enables people to meet their current needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

Sustainable solutions can, however, only be reached if they are economically feasible, socially desirable and politically viable. Finding such solutions requires true collaboration among environmental scientists, economists, policy-makers and politicians. The development of the policies that promote sustainable solutions requires an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, with a strong foundation in the science of environmental change supporting an improved understanding of the engineering, economic, legal and policy consequences.