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Physics and climate change

Physics is at the heart of delivering a green economy and achieving net zero.

In our strategy Unlocking the Future we set out how, in the future, we will depend more on knowledge and skills from physics and other disciplines to address the global challenges that face all of us – including the need to address a changing climate and a growing population, to decarbonise economies, improve healthcare and ensure water, food and energy supplies. 

In June 2019, the UK became the first major country to legislate for a net-zero target for carbon emissions by 2050. In March 2021, the Irish government introduced the Climate Action Bill which sets out its commitment to achieve net-zero carbon no later than 2050. To achieve these goals will require major shift in consumer behaviour as well as significant technical advances in many areas.
Physics is at the heart of the steps needed to deliver a green economy and to achieving net zero in a way that is as inclusive as possible. The IOP and its members continue to play a significant role in the development of the science, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and in the development of policy responses, that will help bring about not just a national but a global response to achieving net zero carbon.  
In preparation for COP26 we will be working with international societies, convening and fostering debate and collaboration between our members and particularly IOP’s Special Interest Groups, and publishing a new thought-provoking series of our Looking Glass podcast on a pathway to a green future. We will continue to update these pages over the coming months.

Find out more about our Looking Glass podcast.