12 Jan 2007

Climate Change: Britain Under Threat



BBC One, Sunday January 21, 8:00pm

In this BBC/Open University co-production, Sir David Attenborough is joined by Kate Humble and Matt Allwright to investigate how climate change will affect our country.

They reveal the results of the unique Climateprediction.net experiment, designed to predict the weather that can be expected in the rest of the 21st Century, and learn how it will affect where people choose to live, the cars they choose to drive and the natural world they treasure.

In the experiment, viewers were invited to use their computers to run climate prediction models. Tens of thousands of people responded from all over the world and together they became part of the largest climate prediction project ever undertaken.

The data generated was sent to Oxford University to be analysed and the result is the most detailed picture yet produced of the likely future climate.

Using the climate prediction results viewers will see snapshots of the future of Britain in 2020, 2050 and 2080 as Sir David guides us through 21st century Britain.

Kate Humble will investigate how Britain will cope with increasingly hot summers by 2020 and Matt Allwright will explore the flip side of climate change - the risk of flooding from extreme winter storms.

Sir David will consider the effects of climate change on the natural world by 2050. It’s not simply that increasing temperatures will put pressure on animals, but often more complex shifts in the ecosystem can occur.

Kate will discover what houses might be like by 2080, how consumers might get their energy and the sort of cars they may drive. Matt will investigate the phenomenon of a “Storm Surge” and examinines how London will be threatened if sea levels rise.

Beyond 2080, Sir David will consider what could lie in store if consumers fail to act on climate change, and what we can be done to prevent the chaos that climate change could bring.

Professor Bob Spicer, Professor of Earth Sciences at The Open University and chief academic for the programme said: “By using the computers of many tens of thousands of people around the world, all of whom will be affected by climate change in some way or another, we have created the largest “virtual” supercomputer dedicated to climate change that the world has ever seen. We have been able to do calculations that even on a normal supercomputer would have taken decades, if not centuries’ to complete.”

What Can We Do About Climate Change?

What Can We Do About Climate Change?

The Open University/BBC co-productions from 2006, Are we changing Planet Earth? and Can we save Planet Earth? where Sir David first set out his position on climate change, will be shown again on BBC Four on Saturday January 20 to set the scene for the special.

The Open University has also produced a free guide to Climate Change.
What Can We Do About Climate Change? is a 12-page fold-out guide with information, practical advice, striking images and opportunities to take the subject further by studying related courses with the OU or becoming involved in the debate at various levels.

The guide is free of charge and can be ordered direct from the OU by calling 0870 942 1342.

The OU/BBC website, Open2.net, will also feature articles exploring differing views on the concept of climate change and the effects on the environment to coincide with this OU/BBC collaboration.

Visitors to the website can also take part in an interactive ‘Holiday Journey Planner’ and compare how environmentally friendly different modes of transport are.

The Open University offers a number of related courses for viewers who have been inspired to learn more about issues explored during these programmes. The courses range from short ‘tasters’ through to more in-depth study in environmental science.

Editor’s Notes

‘Climate Change: Britain Under Threat’ is a BBC/ Open University co-production for BBC One

It will broadcast at 8.00pm on Sunday 21st January 2007.

The Executive Producer for the BBC is Phil Dolling; The Producer is Paul Bradshaw and Executive Producer for The Open University is Emma De’Ath.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.

All broadcast information is correct at time of issue.

For interview requests and further information please contact Guy Bailey or Sarah Sherwin.


Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:-
- S199 Modelling the Climate (short course)
- Y161 Introducing Environment (short course)
- S103 Discovering Science
- S216 Environmental Science
- T172 Working with our environment: Technology for a sustainable future
- U316 The environmental web
- DD100 Introduction to the social sciences: understanding social change
- T206 Energy for a sustainable future
- S250 Science in context
- S369 The Geological record of Climate Change
- U216 Environment

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