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 24th April 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Leach of Fairford Lord Leach of Fairford Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the rate of increase in global mean surface temperatures between 1975 and 1998 was similar to the rates of increase observed between 1860 and 1880 and between 1910 and 1940; and, if so, what the implications are for their policy on anthropogenic warming.

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

Observations collated at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit indicate that the rate of increase in global average surface temperature between 1975 and 1998 was similar to the rates of increase observed between 1860 and 1880 and between 1910 and 1940 (approximately 0.16 degrees centigrade per decade). This observation has no implications for our policy on anthropogenic warming.

Little can be deduced from relatively short periods in the temperature record taken in isolation from the overall picture. Temperatures fluctuate in response to both man-made factors (such as emissions of greenhouse gases) and natural factors (such as volcanic eruptions, changes in solar activity and internal variability within the climate system), and different combinations of these factors can cause temperatures to change at similar rates for limited periods of time. In its assessment of the whole global temperature record from 1860, the IPCC, in its fourth assessment report, concluded that it is very likely (more than 90 per cent chance) that greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for most of the warming over the past 50 years, and likely (more than more than 66 per cent chance) that greenhouse gases caused some of the warming during the early 20th century. The IPCC also showed that in the absence of actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures will continue to rise through the 21st century by between 1.8 and 4 degrees centigrade. This raises the prospect of dangerous levels of climate change, which the Government remain committed to avoid through concerted international and domestic actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Short-term fluctuations in the historic temperature record have no implications for this policy.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

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