café scientifique

Next Meeting:

Monday 12th November 2018
Burning through our budget – how long until 1.5°C?
By Chris Smith

In December 2015, the world woke up to the news that a ground-breaking international deal on climate change been agreed. This was impressive enough, but what caught experts by surprise was the ambition demanded: to keep global temperature rise to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and [to persue] efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”.

In April 2016 the UN commissioned the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to produce a report in 2018 outlining the feasibility and challenges of meeting this goal. Scientists from around the world responded to the call to action and the result is a phenomenal effort produced in record time. One of the most debated and controversial findings is the size of the “carbon budget”, or the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted to stay below 1.5°C. The message is stark: emissions would have to halve by 2030 and reach near zero by 2050.

Alongside more over-arching messages from the Special Report, I will tell the story of the science behind the statements, the level of uncertainty that surrounds them, and the rigorous review and approvals process before appearing in IPCC reports.



Chris Smith is a climate researcher at the University of Leeds and studies the effects of future emissions pathways on temperature change. Chris is a contributing author and chapter scientist on the recent IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C. He co-developed the FAIR simple climate model which was used to produce several of the headline results from the report, and is in the process of developing an online interactive version to demonstrate the model to a wider audience. Chris was also one of the team behind the Climate Platform initiative, distilling climate change science into a series of short words projected onto a huge display on the side of an office building near Leeds train station, following the release of the Special Report.



About Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique is a place where people can meet to hear eminent speakers on all things scientific. The events are extremely popular with lively discussion and informative talks. Topics are always relevant, cutting edge and up-to-date. They are often taken from a wider global discussion.

All are welcome. The Café is held at The New Headingley Club on St Michael’s Road.

For information on topics please check back here for updates or for more information see the e-newsletter or the HDT newsletter.

To be added to the Café Scientifique mailing list please fill out the online form opposite.


Details of previous talks are listed here

Coming soon:

Monday 12th November
Burning through our budget – how long until 1.5oC?
By Chris Smith

Monday 10th December
Christmas Special –
Science Quiz + What was the Star of Bethlehem?

Monday 14th January 2019

Monday 11th February
Heart Rate in Heart Failure – a new approach
By Klaus Witte

Monday 11th March
Turbulent Clouds: Troublemakers in Weather and Climate Models
By Steven Boeing


what's on

  • Café Scientifique

    Mon 12th November - Burning through our budget - how long until 1.5°C?Visit page

  • Headingley Festival of Ideas

    Headingley Festival of Ideas Taster - 8th & 10th OctoberVisit page

  • Talking Heads

    Thurs 11th October - The Overdevelopment of London & The Underdevelopment of BritainVisit page

  • Farmers Market

    Sat 13th OctoberVisit page


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additional info

7:30pm – 9:30pm

New Headingley Club
56 St Michael’s Road
Tel: 0113 2757712 (for info. on venue)

Entry £3

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