Environment Chief visits UEA, says we can beat climate emergency

Monday, 23 January, 2023

Photo: UK Government, OGL 2 <http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2>, via Wikimedia Commons

Sir James Bevan gave a speech at the University of East Anglia students last 16 January. Sir James praised the institution’s ‘outstanding’ work on climate research. He highlighted the need to focus on tackling climate change, rather than letting fear and doom deter action.

University of East Anglia was one of the early pioneers of climate research and has been producing world class analysis for nearly 50 years now. Both its Climatic Research Unit and the Tyndall Centre have both broken new ground in understanding our changing climate and how best to address those consequences. Sir James also referenced the scale of work yet to do within the research space and building international consensus on action.

“In my view this climate doomism is almost as dangerous as climate denial. Indeed doomism might even be the new denial. And it’s equally misplaced. It’s not justified by the facts. And it risks leading to the wrong outcome: inaction,” Sir James Bevan said.

“We know what we have to do to solve the problem. The solutions are technically quite simple. First, we need to reduce and as far as possible stop entirely the emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases: what the experts call mitigation. And second, we need to adapt our infrastructure, our economies and our lifestyles so we can live safely, sustainably and well in a climate-changed world,” he explained.

Sir James also added that climate emergency must be tackled not just as an existential risk but as an opportunity to build a better world. He cited actions such as making cities generate less carbon, be more resilient, and be better places for people to live in. He also emphasised the importance of new technologies that don’t just mitigate and adapt but also help nature recover; and finding new ways to run successful economies so there is sustainable, inclusive growth for everyone.

“By ending the impacts of climate change on the weakest and helping them recover from things they did not cause, we help deliver justice for all,” he said.

UEA has worked with councils and partners to develop a 25-year environmental plan to mitigate the impact of climate change on water security and sea-level rise in region. The Climate Research Unit on UEA campus plays a leading role in producing global temperature figures. The University’s Leverhulme PhD programme is training a new generation of 21st Century climate thought leaders

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