Scott Archer-Nicholls

Postdoc, University of Cambridge - Cambridge
Scott Archer-Nicholls

I have tried to avoid flying for holidays for the last 10 years but would make an exception to fly for work, mainly to conferences several times a year. In 2018, I went to a conference in Japan. It was an amazing experience, but I felt at the end there was nothing I learned from it I could not have gained from going to a European conference. I was only kidding myself in thinking I could justify a journey like that professionally.

Honestly, I was largely using it as an excuse for a holiday in Japan.

Following that, I made a decision to only travel to conferences in Europe, by train if possible. As climate scientists, we need to be honest with ourselves about the implications of our research. When I started working in this field in 2010, I did not expect CO2 emissions to still be rising nearly a decade later. We are now at a critical juncture where if we are to have even a chance of staying within budgets for 1.5, or even 2C, we need unprecedented, global, year-on-year reductions in CO2, starting now.

I don’t see how that can be achieved without reductions in energy demand, and that can only be done fairly if people in richer countries are prepared to reduce their carbon footprint faster than the global average. The recent rise of the youth strikes and other movements has really pressed home to me how our collective failure to limit global warming will be seen as a dereliction of duty by future generations. If even Earth scientists, given all they know, are not prepared to reduce their energy expenditure (flying being a major part of this), I don’t see how we can expect the rest of the population to change behavior.

Modelling of atmospheric chemistry and aerosol processes, and the impacts of short-lived pollutants on air quality and climate.