We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Climate Change

House of Lords written question – answered on 19th March 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Leach of Fairford Lord Leach of Fairford Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the stable or declining global average temperatures since 2001; and how these will inform their policy on climate change mitigation. [HL2104

Question number missing in Hansard, possibly truncated question.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Minister of State (Sustainable Development, Climate Change Adaptation and Air Quality), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Sustainable Development, Climate Change Adaptation and Air Quality), Department for Energy and Climate Change, Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change), Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Development, Climate Change Adaptation and Air Quality) (also in the Department for Energy and Climate Change), Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

The short-term decrease in global average temperature that occurred between 2001 and 2008 resulted from natural, internal processes in the climate system. These cause temperatures to fluctuate from year to year and from decade to decade. Temperatures were lower in 2007 and 2008 than in previous years, for example, due to a La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean, which caused cold water at depth to rise to the surface. Over short periods, this natural variability is larger than the changes expected due to global warming, so it can easily result in the temperature trend being constant or negative over a period of a decade or so, as has happened on occasion during the 20th century.

The effect of greenhouse gases on the climate system is evident in the long-term temperature trend, which is upward (as demonstrated by the fact that the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 12 years). As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue, global average temperatures will continue to rise in the long-term, with potentially dramatic implications for food and water supplies, human health, national security and the global economy. For this reason, the slight decline in global average temperature since 2001 will not affect the UK Government's policy on climate change mitigation. Rather, this policy will continue to be based on the latest scientific evidence regarding the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate system.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.