I’ve worked on climate change for nearly 25 years. My first degree was in marine biology and I went on to study warming in the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean, simulating future climates. Now my specialism is land use, agriculture and climate change – not just in terms of emissions from the food that’s produced, but also the impact of climate change on our food system, and the uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by soils, trees and vegetation. But it was when I started doing a lot of research on household emissions and individual action that I began to make changes on a personal level.
I gave up flying in 2004. I’d just published a paper looking at the carbon emissions that come from climate scientists like me attending conferences, which academics do a lot. It would have been hypocritical for me to flag up flying as the major part of my carbon footprint, and then carry on doing it.
I have two children. Our holidays now tend to be in Scotland and northern England. We went to Amsterdam the year before last, travelling by train and ferry, and the kids have enjoyed those longer trips. Maybe they’ll gripe at me when I’m in my rocking chair, saying, “Dad, you never took us to Disney World, Florida and I’m in counselling for it now”, but I suspect they won’t. [Continue reading…]