This week saw the launch of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission. This independent advisory group brings together a team of climate leaders from across the public, private and third sectors to work collaboratively with local authorities to help drive climate action and respond to the most serious threats facing the region.
There are more than 5 million people living in the Yorkshire & Humber and we spend £10bn a year on energy, much of it still from fossil fuels, which makes us one of the biggest polluters and part of the problem. But as Paul Hudson said in the introductory video, “we are proud people who value our heritage and environment…we have a history of pulling together and that’s now more important than ever as we face the challenge of tackling climate change throughout our region.”
The Commission has two main aims. First, to build resilience and help us adapt to the risks posed by climate change. And second, to enable a cut in carbon emissions, and a just transition to new greener industries, which will help the UK to reach its national target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Much has been done already, as can be seen through the success studies collected, and the Commission will bring together, catalyse and engage everyone across the region to help step up our effort to respond to the climate crisis. It will make sure no one and nowhere gets left behind.
Earlier this month, Leeds was announced as the new home for the National Infrastructure Bank, with £12bn, as well as £10bn in loan guarantees, to invest in public and private infrastructure projects. The Bank aims to support the government’s plans for a green economy while supporting regional and local economic growth. With the climate emergency set to bring predictable and uncertain shocks we need our infrastructure, communities, and economies to be prepared and become more resilient.
Local initiatives have seen universities, local authorities and the civic community come together to develop the concept of the Place-based Climate Action Network, which has spread to and across several places across the rest of the country. Building on this model, the Yorkshire and Humber Commission will produce a Regional Climate Action Plan in time for the COP26 climate negotiations later this year, which the UK will be hosting.
We at YU, are excited to be connected into the Commission and we will be supporting the Research and Evidence Panel tasked with the creation of this Action Plan. And as YU’s Executive Director, Dr Peter O’Brien, who has been appointed as one of the Commissioners, has said, there is also a huge opportunity for YU to help the Commission engage with and draw upon the contributions of the region’s student population that numbers almost 200,000.
Get in touch to find out more.
Watch the recording of the launch of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission (17 March) and see the full list of speakers here.