Prof. Sir John Houghton FRS

John Houghton


Scientific evidence shows the reality of climate change due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas. Some climate change is evident already, but the rate of climate change during 21st century is likely to be more rapid than the earth has experienced for at least 10,000 years, making it difficult for many humans and ecosystems to adapt. Rising sea levels, heat waves and more severe floods and droughts will affect the livelihoods of very many people and lead to hundreds of millions of environmental refugees. Urgent action is required especially by those in the world's rich nations to make large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use, and to use their wealth and skills to assist poorer nations to adapt and to develop sustainably.

Brief biography

Sir John Houghton is currently Honorary Scientist of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the Meteorological Office; Honorary Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; a Trustee of the Shell Foundation; and President of the John Ray Initiative.

Sir John Houghton has been Chairman or Co-Chairman, Scientific Assessment Working Group, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1988-2002), and shares the Nobel Peace Prize 2007. He has been a Member of the UK Government Panel on Sustainable Development (1994-2000); Chairman, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1992-98); Director General (later Chief Executive), UK Meteorological Office (1983-91); Director Appleton, Science and Engineering Research Council (also Deputy Director, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), (1979-83); and Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Oxford University (1976-83). During the 1970ís Sir John Houghton was also Principal Investigator for Space Experiments on NASA Spacecraft.

Sir John Houghton has received numerous honours and awards, most recently the prestigious Japan Prize (2006), and amongst others, the Glazebrook Medal (Institute of Physics, 1990); the Bakerian Prize Lecture of the Royal Society, 1991; the Climate Institute Annual Award (1992); the Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal (1995). He has received Honorary Doctorates of Science from twelve UK universities including Oxford (2006).

Recent books/reports

  • Physics of Atmospheres. (Cambridge University Press 1977, 2nd ed. 1986, 3rd ed. 2002).
  • Climate Change, the IPCC Scientific Assessment, eds J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins and J.J. Ephraums (Cambridge University Press 1990)
  • Climate Change 1992, the Supplementary Report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment, eds J.T. Houghton, B.A. Callander and S.K. Varney (Cambridge University Press 1992)
  • Climate Change 1994, Radiative Forcing of Climate Change and an Evaluation of the IPCC IS92 Emission Scenarios, eds J.T.Houghton, L.G.Meira Filho, J.Bruce, Hoesung Lee, B.A.Callander, E.Haites, N.Harris and K.Maskell (Cambridge University Press 1994)
  • Climate Change 1995, the Science of Climate Change, eds J.T.Houghton, L.G.Meira Filho, B.A.Callander, N.Harris, A Kattenberg and K.Maskell (Cambridge University Press 1995)
  • Climate Change 2001, The Scientific Basis, eds J.T.Houghton, Y. Ding, D.J.Griggs, M.Noguer, P.J.van der Linden, X.Dai, K.Maskell, C.A.Johnson (Cambridge University Press 2001)

Publications on science and religion

  • The John Ray Initiative Briefing Papers:
    • Global Warming, Climate Change and Sustainability - Challenge to Scientists, Policy Makers and Christians. (2007)
    • Big Science, Big God: Science and Faith in a strong embrace. (2007)
    • Christian Challenge of Caring for the Earth.
    • Global Pollution and Climate Change.
  • The Search for God; can Science help? (Lion Publishing 1995)
  • Global Warming, the Complete Briefing. (Lion Publishing 1994; 2nd ed.: Cambridge Univ. Press 1997; 3rd ed.: Cambridge Univ. Press 2004)
  • Does God Play Dice? (Intervarsity Press 1988)