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Climate centres link to focus research strength on solutions

Centre news

A decade-long “fruitful cooperation” between researchers at the University of Leeds and a long-established climate centre in Norway was formalised at the Priestley Centre launch on 14 June.

Kristin Halvorsen, director of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on joint research with Priestley Centre director Piers Forster and University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands.

Both of the directors spoke of the benefits of strengthening the relationship in the wake of the Paris Agreement and the increased interest in climate change it had created worldwide.  Piers Forster, who said that the Priestley Centre already had co-authors in 114 countries, was excited about developing such a key international partnership and Kristin Halvorsen stressed the need for the institutes  to translate research into “actionable information for various sectors and actors”.

“The message from our political leaders is quite clear,” Ms Halvorsen said in her address. “The time of fossil fuels is soon over and across the economy we need to transition to low-carbon solutions and improve our resilience to climate change. More than ever, society needs knowledge on what climate change will mean for the way we produce, live and travel.”

CICERO, which was established as a follow up to the 1987 Bruntland Report, “Our Common Future”, on sustainable development, is an interdisciplinary centre like the Priestley Centre. It maintains a close dialogue with policymakers, ministers and businesses and recently launched a new climate finance initiative specialising in climate risk that provides bespoke information for investors, sectors  and individual businesses.

The connection between the two climate centres is especially strong in the natural sciences and CICERO and Leeds authors have jointly published many papers as well as cooperating on the most recent IPCC assessment.

It has created strong bonds of friendship too, with Ms Halvorsen claiming that Leeds researchers “are among the best climate scientists – and you are also among the nicest scientists, and that is scientifically proven. You are creating, curious and enthusiastic and there to look across disciplines, which we value in CICERO.”