19 September, 2006 Press releases

18 September 2006          PR No. 15 /2006

Delegates at this week’s Liberal Democrat Conference have the opportunity to hear that climate change is real, serious and happening now. Speaking at the first ever Climate Clinic taking place at the conference in Brighton, Director of British Antarctic Survey, Professor Chris Rapley, describes how satellite and field data reveal that changes are taking place in the Polar Regions faster than scientists had predicted even five years ago.

 He says,
‘In a warming world ice melts. Rising sea level is a consequence. We need national and international political initiatives with a sense of urgency to achieve effective limits on greenhouse gas emissions – without them we will be condemning future generations to a transformed planet.

 ‘There are still major uncertainties about what will happen and how quickly, but a sea level rise of up to 5m could take place in the long-term unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly and quickly curbed. The International Polar Year – a major scientific push to provide new insights into the state and fate of the polar regions of our planet starts next March – the may seem distant but what’s happening at the poles will affect us all.’

 The Climate Clinic is where party leaders, ministers, renowned scientists, opinion formers, environmentalists, low-carbon associations, business leaders and the public come together to debate the issues, spotlight the solutions and press for urgent action and vigorous political leadership. ENDS

 Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office.

Linda Capper – tel: ++44 1223 221448, mob: 07714 233744, email:


Athena Dinar – tel: ++44 1223 221414, mob:07740 822229, email:


Note: to interview Professor Rapley at the conference please contact:

to interview Professor Rapley at the conference please contact:

Helen Burley mob: 07778 069930 or

Ben Steward Mob: 07801 212967

Notes to Editors:

Organised by the UK’s leading green organisations and supported by business and the Energy Saving Trust, the Climate Clinic is taking place at each of the main party political conferences this year. The Clinic is calling on politicians of all parties to support urgent government action to avert crisis by preventing global temperatures rising more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.”

 British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context. It is the UK’s national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. It has an annual budget of around £40 million, runs nine research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. More information about the work of the Survey can be found at:


 Prof Chris Rapley CBE is Director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
Prior to this he was for four years the Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.
This followed an extended period as Professor of Remote Sensing Science and Associate Director of University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

He has a first degree in physics from Oxford, a M.Sc. in radioastronomy from Manchester University, and a Ph.D. in X-ray astronomy from University College London.
He has been a Principal Investigator on both NASA and European Space Agency satellite missions and is a member of the NASA JPL Cassini mission Science Team.

He has been a member of numerous national and international committees and boards including Vice President of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research and Chair of the International Council for Science’s (ICSU) International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY) Planning Group.
He is currently a member of the European Polar Board’s Executive and ICSU – World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Joint Committee for IPY.

He is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College Cambridge, and is an Honorary Professor at University College London and at the University of East Anglia.