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Linking up on climate solutions – from the north of England to the South Pole


The University of Leeds is going to the ends of the earth to talk about climate change solutions next week, with a live link up with scientists in Antarctica as part of a suite of events for Green GB Week 15-19 October.

The Priestley International Centre for Climate based at the University of Leeds is asking people to tweet, talk, chat with researchers, ask questions, give their views and come along to events as part of the week of activities on tackling climate change, and it is linking up with other universities, partners and cities to spread the message.

Green GB Week is an initiative of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and represents a commitment in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy. It marks the ten year anniversary of the Climate Change Act and celebrates UK leadership on climate change alongside the business opportunities for clean growth.

With the IPCC’s just published Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C identifying the need to halve global emissions in the next 12 years, the Priestley Centre is using Green GB Week to focus on climate change solutions. As well as bringing together climate experts from different fields it is working with a YouTuber, poets, digital artists, musicians and media professionals to encourage dialogue on the subject.

Climate poetry, set to music by lecturer Scott McLaughlin, will be performed by soprano Peeyee Chen at Leeds Station (accompanied on the station’s piano), for a public engagement session called Climate Chats on Monday 15 October.  Leeds researchers will be conducting a short survey and offering advice on people’s carbon footprints. The Priestley Centre at Leeds has linked up with other universities (Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, Newcastle University and Tyndall Manchester) to deliver the activity at multiple venues simultaneously across the north of England.

Monday also sees the launch of a film made by YouTuber ClimateAdam How (Not) to Talk About Climate Change, which will be shown all week on Leeds Big Screen in Millennium Square. The light-hearted film co-stars communications specialist Dr Adam Corner of Climate Outreach gives some simple tips on how to broach the subject with friends and family. It has been made for the NERC funded Climate Communication Project, a collaboration between academics (including the Priestley Centre) and practitioners working in public engagement on climate change.

Members of the public will also be able to express their views through a curated art installation above Leeds Station, originally used for Light Night. Social media hashtag #MyClimate is linked to two-metre high illuminated letters in the windows of the Platform Building and will spell out the public’s responses to the question “What does climate change mean to you?” The installation goes live on Monday and runs until Friday.

Two major public events take place in Leeds, with ITV Calendar News presenter Christine Talbot introducing Climate Question Time, a livestreamed panel event  in the Council Chamber at Leeds Civic Hall (Thursday 18 October). Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley Centre, who was one of two academics from Leeds co-authoring the landmark IPCC special report, will join other leading climate scientists (Prof Lisa Emberson of SEI York, Prof Hayley Fowler of University of Newcastle and Dr Sarah Mander of Tyndall Centre) and DeSmog editor Mat Hope on the panel. The panel will address questions collected from members of the public throughout the week about climate science and solutions. The event, which is co-hosted by the Priestley Centre, Leeds Climate Commission and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, is chaired by Professor Andy Gouldson. Councillor James Lewis, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, will also be on the panel.

The Priestley Centre team is also linking up with the British Antarctic Survey and Opera North to deliver a free lunchtime lecture called Unfrozen: Reports from the Ice, at the Howard Assembly Room on Friday 19 October (12.30-13.30).  University of Leeds researchers Dr Christian Maerz and Dr Jenine McCutcheon will be talking about their research in the Arctic and Greenland and the event includes a live link up with Blair Fyffe and Tom Lawford, field guides at the Antarctic research station in Rothera.

All events require pre-booking: go to

Climate Question Time and Unfrozen: Reports from the Ice will both be livestreamed on the University of Leeds YouTube channel

How (Not) to Talk About Climate Change :

Green GB Week:

Image: Creative Commons