Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their latest report which confirmed what many have been saying for the past few years: “human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways”.

In his response, UN Secretary General António Guterres said that the report “is a code red for humanity” which, as wildfires engulf parts of Europe and North America, seems glaringly obvious to those experiencing the devastating effects of such extreme weather events.

There is, however, some hope from the group of scientists who authored the report. If greenhouse gas emissions are controlled and significantly reduced, we have the chance to manage rising temperatures and mitigate the effects of climate change on our planet and ecosystems. Should we achieve this, it will still take between 20 and 30 years for global temperatures to stabilise.

A few takeaways from the report:

  • Changes in the climate are being observed across all regions, leading to universal warming and changes in rainfall;
  • Sea levels are set to rise in every possible scenario, even if emissions are cut;
  • The increase in average global temperature is likely to reach – and possibly surpass – the 1.5C ‘safe limit’ over the next 20 years.

At the British Science Festival next month, a wealth of experts will line up to talk to visitors about climate change, its impacts on the local area of Chelmsford, equity in the green transition and what should be prioritised in the lead up to the summit of the year, COP26.

The climate emergency requires policy, behaviour and societal changes the world over. Join us at the events listed to find out how you can do your bit:

COP26: Collaboration For The Climate

Tuesday 7 September, 3.30pm - 4.30pm.

This Autumn, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Join Helen Adams, Head of Science Engagement for COP26 who will share her reflections about the opportunities for world leaders to build a global response to climate change during COP26 and explore the role of academia, science and innovation in supporting governments and the public to take strong action on climate change.

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Climate Café 

Saturday 11 September, 1:00pm - 2:00pm and 3.00pm - 4.00pm

While many of us are concerned about the climate, we may not feel like we can talk about our worries openly.

Feelings of eco-anxiety and depression around climate change are worsened when we're feeling alone. This can leave us feeling hopeless and wondering if there's any point in trying to make positive environmental change.

Climate Cafés exist to combat this by providing space for people to talk freely, in small groups, about their climate concerns and hopes. With no presenters or talks, these cafés are an advice-free zone with no pressure to take action, join a group or change minds.

Ahead of COP26, sign up for one of these special participant-led discussions at the British Science Festival facilitated by members of the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Book now (all ages

Book now (for ages 16-25)

Are polar ice sheets on the rocks? 

Wednesday 8 September, 1.00pm - 1.45pm.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is seven times larger than the UK, taller than Ben Nevis and contains as many 'ice cubes' as there are grains of sand on Earth.

However, even colossal ice sheets like these are under threat from climate change, posing a significant risk to our environment.

Hear Glaciologist Donald Slater, from the University of Edinburgh, tell the story of an ice sheet 'ice cube' as it makes its journey over thousands of years and on a colossal scale. Find out how the birth and death of an ice cube provides tiny clues into the health of these vast ice sheets and what this means for the future of our planet.

Donald is the 2021 Award Lecture winner for environmental sciences. In place of the traditional lecture, find out about Donald and his cutting-edge research journey through a thought-provoking, five-minute video, before delving deeper into the world of gigantic ice sheets at his Q&A at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford.

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Energy, power and empowerment 

Friday 10 September, 1.00pm - 1.45pm.

What does your energy have to do with justice and democracy?

In today's world, fossil fuel-based power and capitalism has led to increasing inequality - of income, wealth and resource ownership. Not everyone has access to safe and affordable energy and energy poverty is on the rise.

As the world moves towards greener energy systems, could these alternatives offer more than just clean electricity and pollution reduction?

Rosie Robison (Anglia Ruskin University) discusses the ways it could address key societal issues through the potential to redistribute jobs, wealth, health and political power more fairly.

With new 'citizen assemblies', allowing the general public to answer important questions around energy and justice, your input is more important than ever. Whether the renewable energy transition delivers on redistributing power comes with its challenges.

Rosie provides a valuable lens to exploring 'who wins, who loses, how and why?

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Transforming Eco-Anxiety Into Eco-Action 

Saturday 11 September, 11.30am, - 12.30pm.

Climate anxiety, the feeling of overwhelming fear and worry about climate change, is on the rise.

As we move towards COP26, psychologist and member of the Climate Psychology Alliance, Caroline Hickman (University of Bath) speaks with young Chelmsford resident Matty Turner and UK Youth Climate Coalition member, Serena Bashal to share their stories of climate change, worry and visions of the future.

In many ways, eco-anxiety is a logical response to an existential threat. A threat that is becoming more real and present in our daily lives.

Young people, who are driving the climate movement, are at particular risk of experiencing it.

In fact, it has become such a significant issue that the Climate Psychology Alliance was set up to support people.

While knowledge is power when it comes to climate work, there are ways to reduce the anxiety that comes with it.

Book now

To find out more about the British Science Festival 2021, visit the website.