Climate conference hears calls for urgent action

‘Achieving the deep, steep and urgent reductions in emissions necessary to avoid breaching the two degrees target for limiting global warming’ – that’s the theme of the latest conference from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The Radical Emissions Reduction Conference, running from 10 to 11 December at the Royal Society in London, is dedicated to finding options for society to make substantial cuts in emissions, starting now.

“We need a radical plan for cutting emissions to avoid the radical repercussions of climate change,” said Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre Professor Kevin Anderson, based at The University of Manchester. “To do this, industrial countries have to cut energy use by around 8-10% each year or 60-70% over the decade, and we have to start now.

“Low-carbon supply and incremental reductions are no longer sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change. We have to have early, rapid and deep reductions in emissions and this can only be achieved in the short term through reductions in energy use.”

The Radical Emission Reduction Conference is a call to the climate and energy research community and, ultimately, to policymakers, energy suppliers and regulators to think differently. The conference aims to cultivate a ‘can-do’ attitude by exploring options to deliver deep cuts in emissions and understand where and how meaningful changes can be made. Among the 37 speakers are:

  • Architect Charlie Baker demonstrating how 80% reductions in energy demand in UK homes are feasible at less than half the price of the prevailing practice
  • Brenda Boardman of Oxford University showing why stricter UK standards in LED lighting are necessary to keep the lights on
  • Dan Calverley of the University of Manchester revealing why UK cars are more amenable to rapid decarbonisation than is traditionally portrayed, without reducing miles travelled or raising cost
  • Trent Hawkins on Australia’s Zero Carbon Building Plan to achieve zero emissions in 10 years while improving comfort and worker productivity
  • Alice Hooker-Stroud from the Centre for Alternative Technology on how energy surpluses and shortfalls can be reliably met through variable renewable generation within a Zero Carbon Britain
  • Neil McAbe, firefighter at the world’s first carbon neutral fire station, Killbarrack Fire Station in Dublin, that has reduced annual running costs by €50,000
  • Professor Jaap Spier of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands discussing legal obligations and institutions in this context
  • Professor Richard Wilk at Indiana University examining the power of shame to reduce personal consumption

Delegates will hear that the need for radical action follows 20 years of stalled United Nations negotiations for limiting global warming, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirming in September a global temperature trajectory of 1.5-4.5oC by the end of this Century, and 2013 being another record year of carbon dioxide emissions – levels of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere crossing the symbolic 400 parts per million earlier this Spring.

“The Global Carbon Budget shows that to make sure we keep below two degrees, our emissions in this century must be less than half of what humanity has emitted so far” says Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia. “Our conference is the start of the radical plan, challenging researchers to think about what can be achieved for rapidly reducing our dependence on energy.”


Notes for editors

The keynote speaker at the Radical Emissions Reduction Conference is Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author, joining the conference by weblink from Toronto.

The Radical Emissions Reduction Conference is organised by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester. The Tyndall Centre is an active and expanding partnership between the Universities of East Anglia (headquarters), Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Sussex, and recently Fudan University in Shanghai. It conducts research on the interdisciplinary aspects of climate change and is committed to promote informed and effective dialogue across society about the options to manage our future climate. www.tyndall.ac.uk

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 2758387
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk