Chair in Global Challenges
Area of work, and why it’s important
My research focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. Much of the world’s population live in energy poverty and this has enormous social, environmental and economic consequences. A major theme of the UNFCCC agreement being negotiated at COP26 is how those people and countries who have not contributed to anthropogenic climate change can create an equitable pathway for development that minimises greenhouse gas emissions. There are three main stands to my work. Firstly, capacity building in three countries in Africa: Uganda, Tanzania and Congo-Brazzaville. Secondly, integrated design of electricity mini-grids; and thirdly, developing sources of bioenergy that fit local needs and ecologies. More information about the projects can be found on our website.
What will you be doing at COP26?
I am involved in two events at COP26. The first is a joint event with the University of Strathclyde in which we’ll be discussing mini-grids and low carbon energy access in Africa. The event will be held in the Ramshorn Theatre in Glasgow on 1 November and online. You can sign up for the event here.
The second event is an online Live YouTube event with our project partners in Uganda, Indonesia and India to discuss the role of education in enabling the transition to clean bioenergy technologies. The event coincides with the launch of our new online open access course on bioenergy. More information about the event is online.
And you can also sign up for the new online course on bioenergy.
What are your hopes for the COP26 negotiations?
That the principles of equality and equity remain paramount throughout the negotiations.
Any tips for readers about climate action?
Think carefully about the environmental, social and economic effects your own personal choices. This is not only about what you consume, but also the political choices you make.
Anything else you want us to know?
Anthropogonic influence on the Earth’s climate system is largely a symptom of inequality. To fix the problem we’ve got to get back to basics. There has been a lot of attention to climate science and the influence is now beyond doubt. We need a similar huge effort to highlight and change the governance systems that caused the problem in the first place.