Leeds is exemplar in Bonn climate talks

13th November, 2017 - 12:36


Leeds is being highlighted as an exemplar of city-scale action on transitioning to a low carbon economy at the UN climate talks in Bonn.

Andy Gouldson, Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds, has been invited to talk about how Leeds Climate Commission has pioneered  an innovative approach to urban governance to maximise opportunities from the shift.

The University of Leeds panel event, to be held today (Monday 13 November) at the UK Pavilion at the UNFCCC’s COP23, also includes Leeds research fellow Andrew Sudmant. They join Lord Deben, Chair  of the UK Committee on Climate Change, Adrian Gault, interim Chief Executive of the UK Committee on Climate Change and Nick Godfrey, Director of the Coalition for Urban Transitions

Lord Deben, who gave the keynote address at the Leeds Climate Commission’s launch  on 7 September, is enthusiastic about the Leeds initiative, which brings together public, private and civic sectors in a partnership that aims to reduce Leeds’ emissions while reaping the economic and other benefits and making the city more resilient to climate change.

In his speech to an audience of over 200 at the Leeds City Museum, Lord Deben said: “It is crucial that it is local communities carry forward the battle against climate change. Governments and Parliament can set the parameters, but in the end it is only local people who can actually deliver the goods.

“The fact that you have decided to set up a commission, which in some senses mirrors what we do try to do with the Committee on Climate Change is, I think, a role which ought to become an exemplar for the rest of the country.”

The Leeds Climate Commission is currently chaired by Prof Gouldson with the University of Leeds providing the secretariat and Leeds City Council in the role of deputy chair (Dr Tom Knowland, Head of Sustainable Energy and Climate Change).  The Commission, which began in January 2017, has 24 Leeds-based organisations, groups and businesses represented on it and has set up a Leeds Climate Forum to encourage wider participation by people across the city.

Leeds Climate Commission  has already co-hosted its first public event,  a Climathon (with the Priestley International Centre for Climate) to reduce air pollution and make Leeds a clean air city.

Professor Gouldson said:  “The UK has been rightly praised for the ground-breaking climate legislation that led to the creation of the UK Committee on Climate Change. By creating the Leeds Climate Commission, we will replicate its success but at the city scale. By convening all of the key actors in the city, the Commission will guide, advise, support and track the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient city.

We hope that the model of the Leeds Climate Commssion will be replicated in other cities around the world." 


The event, "Empowering cities in the transition to a low carbon economy", takes place at the UK Pavilion in the Bonn Zone at COP23, 17.20-18.15  Monday 13November 2017 


Vew Lord Deben’s speech at the Leeds Climate Commission launch

View Andy Gouldson’s speech at the  Leeds Climate Commission launch

Read The Conversation blog by Andrew Sudmant and Prof Andy Gouldson