In 2008 the UK government passed the Climate Change Act, the first legislation of its kind to introduce legally binding emissions reductions targets.
The ten year anniversary of the Act will be marked as part of Green Great Britain Week and the Priestley International Centre for Climate is playing an active part in the national programme of events.
Green GB Week (15-19 October) is an initiative of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and represents a commitment in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy. As well as celebrating UK leadership on climate change it highlights the business opportunities from clean growth and features the technologies and innovative green finance mechanisms that are essential for the transition to a low carbon economy.
Over 86% of the projected $11.5 trillion investment in global power generation over the next three decades is expected to be in low carbon resources. Figures from the Dept for BEIS predict that by 2030, the “clean economy” – growing national income while cutting greenhouse gas emissions – has the potential to grow at four times the rate of GDP growth, support up to two million jobs and generate up to £170 billion of annual exports.
The green growth message recognises the urgent need to decarbonise to meet the carbon budgets, as set out in the Climate Change Act. These are monitored by the independent Committee on Climate Change, which provides the evidence based framework and advises the government on the budgets (currently running to 2032; a sixth carbon budget must be set by 2020).
The strong emphasis on climate science in Green GB Week gives a platform for the latest UK research on the impacts of climate change. The Priestley Centre, together with Leeds Climate Commission, the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) and University of Leeds Sustainability Service are collaborating to put on public events in Leeds and events on campus for staff and students. Researchers from the University of Leeds are also collaborating with other universities in the North of England and Scotland to deliver a co-ordinated public engagement programme.
As well as events in Yorkshire, scientists from the Priestley Centre will be delivering talks at a keynote event in London, where a film starring vlogger ClimateAdam, commissioned and conceived by the Priestley Centre and partners from the NERC Climate Communication Project, will also be shown.
Climate Adam (Adam Levy) in one of his YouTube videos
Green Great Britain Week is also a focus for action by businesses, communities, schools, colleges, universities and charities, with themed days across the week. Monday 15 October is the main climate science day and will be marked by events in London with the European Launch of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 °C and a programme of events at the Natural History Museum.
Other days throughout the week focus on future technology (Tuesday), green finance (Wednesday), business opportunities (Thursday) and community action (Friday).
In Leeds, the programme of events and activities includes:
- Climate Chats: Public engagement session and climate solutions survey at Leeds Station (Monday 15 October, 11.00-14.00). Other universities including York, Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle are also taking part in their own city centres.
- How (and How Not) to Talk About Climate Change: short film starring YouTuber and scientist Climate Adam and Dr Adam Corner (Climate Outreach) on the Big Screen in Millennium Square (from Monday 15 October)
- Climate Platform giant text installation + #MyClimate social media campaign (from Monday 15 October, Platform Building, adjacent to Leeds Station)
- Don’t Mention The C Word: How to talk about Climate Change – climate communications panel event + social with Climate Adam (Adam Levy) and poet Sam Illingworth (University of Leeds students and staff only, Monday 15 October, 17.00-18.30, Stage@Leeds)
- Our Institutional Response to Climate Change – a collaborative approach to the University’s strategy: workshop with the Priestley Centre and Sustainability Service on using research to reduce the University of Leeds’ carbon footprint (University of Leeds staff and students only, Tuesday 16 October, 12.00-14.00, on campus)
- Climate Question Time (Thursday 18 October, 19.00-20.30, livestreamed from the Council Chamber in Civic Hall, Leeds). Jointly presented by Priestley International Centre for Climate, CCCEP and Leeds Climate Commission
- Unfrozen: Reports from the Ice – a free lunchtime public lecture featuring short talks by University of Leeds researchers (Friday 19 October, 12.30-13.30, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds). Jointly presented by Priestley International Centre for Climate and NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Project with grateful thanks to Opera North
See the full programme of events for Green GB Week here.
Image: Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0