"History of the Climatic Research Unit," CRU, University of East Anglia, UK
"Since its inception in 1972 until 1994, the only scientist who had a guaranteed salary from ENV/UEA funding was the Director. Every other research scientist relied on 'soft money' - grants and contracts - to continue his or her work. Since 1994, the situation has improved and now three of the senior staff are fully funded by ENV/UEA and two others have part of their salaries paid. The fact that CRU has and has had a number of long-standing research staff is testimony to the quality and relevance of our work. Such longevity in a research centre, dependent principally on soft money, in the UK university system is probably unprecedented. The number of CRU research staff as of the end of July 2007 is 15 (including those (3) fully funded by ENV/UEA)."...
Universally used data sets took years
"The area of CRU's work that has probably had the largest international impact was started in 1978 and continues through to the present-day: the production of the world's land-based, gridded (currently using 5° by 5° latitude/longitude boxes) temperature data set. This involved many person-years of painstaking data collection, checking and homogenization. In 1986, this analysis was extended to the marine sector (in co-operation with the Hadley Centre, Met Office from 1989), and so represented the first-ever synthesis of land and marine temperature data - i.e., the first truly global temperature record, demonstrating unequivocally that the globe has warmed by almost 0.8°C over the last 157 years. This work continues year-on-year to update and enhance the record and its publication is eagerly awaited around the world. The most recent innovation has been the development of a comprehensive set of error estimates at the grid-box and larger scales (see Brohan et al. 2006 and IPCC AR4 chapter 3 ).
Besides the global temperature data set, there has been much CRU effort devoted to the compilation of a comprehensive, quality-controlled precipitation data base. This, together with CRU's high-resolution (0.5° by 0.5°) monthly datasets (for maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation, rainday counts, vapour pressure, cloudiness and wind speed) for all the world's inhabited land areas, has provided many researchers, in the UK and overseas, with their basic data for a whole range of studies....
As it became clearer, in the 1980s, that the world was warming, a question that was asked with increasing frequency was how much, if any, of the warming was a consequence of human activity? CRU had made an important contribution to the posing of that question, so was in an excellent position to attract some more research funding to address it. The UK Government became a strong supporter of climate research in the mid-1980s, following a meeting between Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher and a small number of climate researchers, which included Tom Wigley, the CRU director at the time. This and other meetings eventually led to the setting up of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, within the Met Office. At the same time, other governments were also taking notice and wanted more information. As this need was not being met by international scientific bodies and institutions at the time, they set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This was under the United Nations Framework (later the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC) and led to assessments being produced in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. CRU staff have been heavily involved in all four assessments, probably more than anywhere else relative to the size of an institution (see IPCC AR4 Authors)....
In 1995...a team of researchers from American institutes and from CRU, using the computer simulations of climate change caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, and sulphate aerosols (developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA), was able to detect the effects of these climate forcing factors in the climate observations. The results were in stark contrast to the consensus view expressed by IPCC in 1990,
- when it was stated that the effect of increased carbon dioxide concentrations could not yet be identified in the observed record.
- but not all governments appreciate the full scale of the problem yet.
- projections given by the IPCC in 1990 and to
- corresponding projections of sea-level rise....
- therefore, continue to fill an important niche....
- work has also been
- incorporated into IPCC reports. ...
A main thrust of the Unit's research programme since the early 1980s has, therefore, been global warming: the human contribution, the future climate response, and possible impacts of future climate change, with an increasing emphasis on adaptation to these impacts. But this was not to the exclusion of other research, much of it of commercial relevance. A few examples follow. From the late 1970s through to the collapse of oil prices in the late 1980s, CRU received a series of contracts from BP to provide data and advice concerning their exploration operations in the Arctic marginal seas. Working closely with BP's Cold Regions Group, CRU staff developed a set of detailed sea-ice atlases, covering estimates of data quality and climate variability as well as standard climatological means, and a series of reports on specific issues, such as navigation capabilities through the Canadian Archipelago. Assessment of the wind energy resource over the UK led to the development of predictive schemes to assess the potential power production at candidate wind turbine sites. Research on predicting canopy wetness as a vector for disease in cocoa plantations has been of special interest to Brazilian cocoa producers. Advice from CRU has been sought on far-future climate states in relation to the long-term safety of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste storage sites. On shorter-term timescales, work on extreme events with implications for nuclear power station operation has been undertaken. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the insurance and re-insurance industries have been a regular sponsor of research with studies evaluating the risk of hurricane landfall on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US, the impacts of severe storms in Europe and the characteristic of the typhoon risk over Japan. Former public utilities, such as the Central Electricity Generating Board (and latterly National Power) commissioned work from CRU on acid rain, wind energy, and surface ozone.
- Work has also been undertaken for Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace....
A number of CRU staff have been awarded medals, certificates or fellowships from the Royal Meteorological Society, the European Geosciences Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and the Leverhulme Trust."...
- (All with financial interest. ed.)
This list is not fully exhaustive, but we would like to acknowledge the support of the following funders (in alphabetical order):
British Council, British Petroleum, Broom's Barn Sugar Beet Research Centre, Central Electricity Generating Board, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Commercial Union, Commission of European Communities (CEC, often referred to now as EU), Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), Department of Energy, Department of the Environment (DETR, now DEFRA), Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Eastern Electricity, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenpeace International, International Institute of Environmental Development (IIED), Irish Electricity Supply Board, KFA Germany, Leverhulme Trust, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), National Power, National Rivers Authority, Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), Norwich Union, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, Overseas Development Administration (ODA), Reinsurance Underwriters and Syndicates, Royal Society, Scientific Consultants, Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), Scottish and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, Shell, Stockholm Environment Agency, Sultanate of Oman, Tate and Lyle, UK Met. Office, UK Nirex Ltd., United Nations Environment Plan (UNEP), United States Department of Energy, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wolfson Foundation and
- the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)."
"Climate" issue is first and foremost about "profound transformation in world society":
3/23/2008, "Fundamental Inadequacies of Carbon Trading for the Struggle Against Climate Change," by Daniel Tanuro, ClimateandCapitalism.com
"As a last word, let me state that the profound transformation of world society that is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change
- real democracy, climate justice
"Daniel Tanuro is the ecological correspondent of La Gauche, newspaper of the Belgian Socialist Workers Party. This is the text of his talk at the Conference on the future of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading in the EU organized by the Slovenski E-forum, Focus and the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, on March 21, 2008"
- will be essential for its success."