British Association Presidential Address
In a speech to the annual Festival of Science, Frances Cairncross, this year’s president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, called for more emphasis on adaptation to climate change. “Even if we put in place all the most energy efficient technologies we now have, we are still likely to see a rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases,” she said. “We need to plan for a warmer climate, as well as trying to reduce the pace of global warming.” She suggested particularly the development of drought resistant crops, the construction of flood defences and protected north-south corridors across continents to allow species to migrate.
The Rector also said that she had been “scandalised” to discover, from figures produced by the Independent Schools Council, what was happening to the teaching of maths and sciences in Britain’s state schools. She pointed out that roughly 45% of A grades in A-level Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics and 58% of A grades in Economics came from independent schools – which educate only 7% of Britain’s school children. She also called for a bonus payment to those students and their teachers in state schools who achieved an A grade in A-level Maths.