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Kingsborough Community College ​I'm enjoying it very much can be so what are the two things the government's really care about they care about the health the well-being the resilience of us their populations and they care about the economy and of course the two are interrelated and if you think about both those topics then science engineering technology and social science are absolutely intrinsic to each of those and so my job is to advise government on all aspects of science engineering technology and social science as they apply to all aspects of government policy so that's a lot of stuff I didn't learn at Medical School so how am I able to do it I'm able to do it because I have a network of colleagues with whom I work both inside and outside government so each government department in the UK has a chief scientist there's a nuclear physicist who advises the Foreign and Commonwealth Office there's an engineer who advises Department of Business Innovation and Skills we have a statistician of the Home Office at the Department of Energy and Climate Change we have a physicist engineer and so we form a network and we're able to talk to scientists in academia in the learning academies and in industry and in that way we are a very broad network and that's particularly useful at advising governments at times of emergency so my predecessor John beddington when that terrible tsunami hit the reactor at Fukushima was able within a couple of hours to have an expert committee which was able to provide advice through the Foreign Office to UK citizens living in Tokyo but having modelled the plume and knowing about the potential source there was no risk for the health of British citizens in Tokyo and that was fast advice it was helpful advice and it actually helped in terms of the UK's diplomatic relations with Japan as well and it's a very good example by having a pre-existing network of advice how science can inform government now the wall i'm going to talk about and it's already been prefaced in the introductory remarks is that wall that is built up between the scientific community represented at the top left and the policymaker who has some really difficult questions in the bottom right and the challenge with this wall is that there's a slight confusion about who has built it and it's like one of those walls at the end of your garden that you don't quite know whether it's your wall or your neighbors wall and the challenges that the scientific community believes that the wall is due to politicians who won't listen to them and don't understand what they're saying whilst the politicians view this wall and think there are all these scientists who don't understand the questions that we need answered and the time scale over which we needed answering and so communication is actually about understanding what's on both sides of the wall and only that way can we take it down brick by brick from each side to use that metaphor and that equally applies in terms of our scientific discussion with publix because of course politicians are one public but there are many public's and sometimes we think we're having one conversation and they think they're having another conversation it doesn't matter who the window they are in that particular case so I'm going to focus now on really the defining policy questions that face us over the next few years and if you think about the two aspects of our infrastructure that are probably the most critical in terms of the way we can survive and share the planet with other species it is the infrastructure of energy on the one hand that human derived form of energy forms of energy or that we capitalized upon and of course that's in many ways the most crucial infrastructure if the lights go out the heating goes off this becomes very dark and unfriendly building indeed and it doesn't take long for society to grind to a halt if the energy sources disappear and equally the other side of the coin is the natural infrastructure and so I tend to think about health well-being and resilience in terms of that built infrastructure energy transport cyber waste the built environment and then the natural environment which of course is whether its climate its biodiversity its plant health animal health the oceans the seas and this of course is where that enormously important of human infrastructure which there are different power sources and climate come together and the challenge is that peace in the Middle where I use that slide as an example of how scientists should not try to communicate with any audience let alone a political audience or a public audience so coming to the climate question first and the science here is very hard but the communications is very hard and actually the policy decisions are the hardest of all and it's very important my job is to advise on the science when it comes to the policy decisions about what we do with scientific information they are for the people that we elect as politicians to decide there for us as electorates to decide whom we wish to elect as politicians and it's very important to understand that distinction so this is timely because the IPCC fits report on the physical basis of climate change to just come out I'm not going to go through the graphs in detail but what I am going to say is that one of the challenges is in communication is what I've characterizes a large number and a small number problem the large number problem is that we're putting out ten Petta grams of carbon into the atmosphere each year I don't think 10 Pettigrew means anything really to anyone in this


audience oh there may be a few physicists to them it does so that's ten gigatons that sort of means something 10 billion tons a bit better ten thousand million tongues beginning to be the sorts of very large numbers that we can communicate turn that into sacks of coal and have an image of it and that's a very large amount indeed and the small number issue is the one that's on this graph on the right which is that that actually if you look back to 1900 then the temperature the average surface temperature has gone up by about point nine degrees centigrade now that seems like a very tiny amount but of course it's not going up evenly and the very term warming probably doesn't capture it what we're seeing is climate disruption and the heat map of the planet which you see on the left of this slide shows you that that change comes out very unevenly and that's one of the challenges where same climate disruption and that has to be communicated and people get very focused on the temperature and they get very focused on well has the warming leveled off over the last few years we heard earlier about from Steven friend about the complex of biological systems and actually that graph of temperature looks like a biologist straight line if I can put it that way physicists are used to extremely straight lines but in climate we're dealing with incredibly complicated systems and so they do fluctuate and there are all sorts of interacting factors but of course it isn't just temperature because there are a series of correlated changes that we expect to see if there's warming and so we expect to see Glacia volume going down we expect to see the temperature of air going up of the sea surface going up we expect there to be expansion and release of ice into the water so we expect sea levels to be going up and there's another small example number 3 millimeters per year doesn't sound like very much but accumulate that over a period of time and take it with the fact that humans like living near to the coast and you see the vulnerability and of course you can see the vulnerability sadly today as this huge typhoon sweeps through the Philippines so all of these measures and this is a figure taken from the IPCC if you look at the date of all of them they're all going in the direction that we you would expect understanding the simple physics of what goes on when things start to warm up so that takes us to the communications challenge which is how we do translate this very complex sounds for policymakers and for the public and what we mustn't do is over claim or oversimplify life as we've already heard is complicated climate is complicated we can measure the present with accuracy we can measure the past with a pretty great amount of our accuracy if you go into ice cores and sources of continuous measurements over a period of time it's much harder to look into the future it's always much easier to predict the past of the future um and one of the challenges I think we've had with climate is that people who don't like to consider the different policy implications somehow believe that if they deny the science then that makes it possible to duck the policy decisions that isn't the right answer what we have to do is start by accepting the science here is very rigorous and the great thing about the IPCC process intergovernmental panel on climate change process is its rigor one of the things that I do understand from the world of medicine that we talk about evidence-based medicine and that's based on a great deal of meta-analysis we look at all the scientific evidence we put it together in the UK and internationally there are these things called Cochrane reviews which look at the evidence in a very rigorous way and provide the best consensus on what it shows and the IPCC report is the most extraordinary part of the metaanalysis that I think has ever really been at 259 lead authors 39 countries this is a really rigorous process they've looked at thousands of papers each one of those peer-reviewed so we have to take this report seriously and so what we have to do is face the policy consequences and we essentially have a choice or three things that we can do we can mitigate climate change by reducing our carbon emissions we can adapt to it and that's the thames barrier that you see or we can suffer and it's up to us to optimize that ratio scientists don't have a unique role in those policy decisions it's for all of us and I'll come back to the issue which is what we think for our grandchildren and for their grandchildren and so coming to this question about understanding the lenses through which other people look at the issue then this is a survey that was conducted fairly recently of the public in the United Kingdom asking them about energy and about climate change and you can see that and here's a fly I very appropriate in nitra Jules hoffman's talked before which has lots and lots of lenses that about three-quarters of people are very or fairly concerned about climate change and they believe that the UK should reduce its dependence on fossil fuel that's a pretty good majority equally eighty-three percent of respondents were fairly or very concerned that in the next 10 to 20 years electricity will become unaffordable for them and four-fifths of people roughly are worried about the energy security question that we're too dependent on energy coming from other countries and those of course are the three lenses through which you need to look at energy policy the security of supply which is paramount the sustainability and the affordability and if you look through one of those lenses alone you end up with the wrong answer and so the challenge is we need to take account much more in discourse between science engineering technology and society the social science in other words we need to understand the values that people have and so you can look at these in terms of in terms of energy on the one hand people do want to reduce the use of finite resources they want to avoid waste they want to be efficient they want to protect the environment they want naturalness than what nature they do want to reduce the overall levels of any use


but they want all of this in the context of social justice fairness honesty and transparency autonomy and freedom and so the polity challenge is how we communicate and the interests of that last-minute practice as a minute 18 seconds there but never mind this is a tool a web tool which enables people to model the legal commitment in the UK which is to reduce our carbon emissions by eighty percent by 2050 so the UK has legislated and these are various scenarios they are example scenarios none of them is in fact exactly realistic on its own but they just give examples scenarios but they show some of the challenges you know if we want wind we've got 10 gigawatts installed roughly we would need about 80 nuclear we've got 10 gigawatts installed at the moment again we would need to increase it dramatically carbon capture and storage very important technology nothing at the moment and these are the maps this is where the politicians have to work so this is a map of the world where the darkness of the color of each country is the amount of carbon dioxide consumed or produced per citizen so you can see that our current colors and the size of the country is the total emissions and so as of now the UK is responsible between one and two percent if you go back to the Industrial Revolution because actually half of carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds if not thousands of years then the map of the world looks very different and you can see that whilst this was prepared initially for a UK audience you can see the size of Europe and so we need innovation and finish what we need is some grand challenges this is where the scientific community has got to work globally extraordinarily hard to develop the technologies that we're going to need if low carbon energy is the competitive economically with existing sources of fossil fuels fuel and here is something to cool me so the challenge for us and this is my last slide is that whilst we can't predict the future we know that the world when our grandchildren are old it's going to be very different we care about our grandchildren but do we care about our grandchildren's grandchildren thank you for your attention LIU Brooklyn.

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