What are we doing about climate change?

Discovering Geology — Climate change

BGS is committed to research that will help produce innovative solutions aimed at slowing down the effects of a rapidly changing climate, whilst helping society to become resilient and adapt to climate change.

Research areas

  • How can we reduce our carbon emissions through better use of our energy resources?
  • How can geoscience help society to adapt and become more resilient to environmental change?
  • How can we adapt and become more resilient to hazardous processes, such as landslides and flooding, which affect people and property?

Better use of energy resources

Reducing and removing CO2 from power production, heat, transport and industry, also known as decarbonisation, is a major challenge for society. The BGS is investigating the feasibility of different technologies for decarbonisation and how society better manages natural resources.

Our research is split into several areas:

  • geo-disposal: disposal of radioactive waste, and carbon capture and storage
  • energy storage: innovative use of the underground to store energy such as compressed air
  • clean power: shallow and deep geothermal sources and the offshore siting of wind farms and tidal barrages
  • metals and materials: understanding the resources needed for a low carbon world

You may also be interested in

Ammonite p815563

Discovering Geology

Discovering Geology introduces a range of geoscience topics to school-age students and learners of all ages.

Show more
Iceberg P912184

Climate change

Climate is the pattern of weather of an area averaged over many years. We can only show whether climate change has occurred after decades of careful measurements and analysis.

Show more
Skaftafellsjökull Glacier

What causes the Earth’s climate to change?

Geological records demonstrate that there have been a number of large variations in Earth’s climate in the past.

Show more
Sandstone coloured red with iron oxides, indicating a hot climate at the time of deposition.

Impacts of climate change

Temperature rises can affect agriculture, sea levels and the frequency of extreme weather incidents. We can study past climate change by looking at the evidence in rocks, fossils and changes in the landscape.

Show more
Thawing permafrost in Herschel Island, 2013. Source: Boris Radosavljevic.

The carbon story

The carbon cycle describes the process in which carbon atoms continually travel from the atmosphere into the Earth, then released back into the atmosphere.

Show more
The greenhouse effect: some of the infrared radiation passes through the atmosphere, but most is absorbed and re-emitted in all directions by greenhouse gas molecules and clouds. The effect of this is to warm the Earth's surface and the lower atmosphere.

The greenhouse effect

Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere act as an insulating blanket around the planet, trapping more of the Sun’s heat.

Show more
Gasometer.

Understanding carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage involves capturing carbon dioxide at emission sources, such as power stations, then transporting and storing it underground.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*