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Climate Science meets Politics


David Warrilow OBE was a senior government science advisor and international negotiator on climate change and environmental issues, such as ozone depletion and air pollution. He led the UK delegations to the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for over 20 years and was a lead negotiator for the EU on the scientific issues covered in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

He managed a significant research programme at the Department of Energy and Climate Change providing underpinning scientific evidence and analysis of climate change, energy and ozone depletion in support of the UK’s domestic and international policies.

Prior to this he undertook research at the Met Office on the development of observing systems, hydrometeorology and flood design, and climate modelling of land surface process.

Since retiring from the civil service in January 2016 David has undertaken several speaking engagements on the scientific background to the Paris Climate Agreement and on the use of science to support policy. He was appointed President of the Royal Meteorological in October 2018.



Any science that has societal relevance soon finds that it must engage with a very different world, where opinion and conviction may count for more than evidence. I will review how the obscure (to most people) subject of climate science became centre stage in the an increasingly fractious debate on the environment, development and wealth. I will look at the how science has fed in to the policy process, has become the battleground between environmentalists and free marketeers and the complexities and importance of science in the development of a global response to climate change. Finally I will look at the challenges facing scientists as they seek to bring objectivity to the debate.

The meeting will be held in the Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, EH8 9XP, starting at 6 pm, with tea and biscuits available from 5:30 pm. Please note that there is no entry to the building after 6 pm.  Registration is recommended for this event. There is no charge.

The Society's website is  To see the full Scottish Centre programme, click on 'About RMetS', then 'Local Centres' and finally 'Scottish Local Centre'.The Scottish Centre also has its own website at


Organised By
Royal Meteorological Society, Scottish Centre
11 Oct 2019 18:00 to 19:00
The Institute of Geography
Drummond Street
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