Extensive new report aims to make climate change research accessible ahead of COP26

A new climate change report produced by the University of Birmingham intends to make academic expertise more available to global policy makers and to the public ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in November.

The report, Addressing the climate challenge, features contributions from nearly 100 academics, professionals and students drawn from across five continents.

Among the most important topics covered by the report are:

  • The University’s commitment to the Race to Zero campaign.
  • The need to grow our understanding of what drives climate change, recognising the complex and often interconnected issues at work.
  • The prioritisation of climate research and related knowledge transfer activities by funders.
  • The need to build a circular economy in order to transition to a sustainable society.
  • A call for governments to incentivise sustainable behaviours and increase the adoption rate of clean technologies using tax and subsidies.

The publication also showcases several of the University’s most ambitious projects including HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen powered train, and the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment which investigates how mature forests react to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The primary goal of Addressing the climate challenge is to present how the University’s research can be put to practical use in tackling climate change, particularly in supporting ambitious new decarbonisation projects and in advising Government departments on climate policy.

The report coincides with nationwide preparations for the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference or COP26, due to be held in Glasgow from 1 – 12 November 2021.  COP26 is the first climate conference to review the terms of the 2016 Paris Agreement, in which participating nations agreed to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C. It is widely expected policy-makers meeting in Glasgow will agree to upscale the promises made in the Paris agreement.

Addressing the climate challenge collates all of the information and research relevant to COP26 and aims to be the University’s primary contribution to the conference. In addition to the publication, the University of Birmingham has also been granted provisional observer status with the UNFCCC, enabling us to send our own delegation to the summit.

Many believe COP26 will be crucial for co-ordinating an effective strategy to tackle/limit climate change. As it is the first UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the United Kingdom, the University of Birmingham is keen to demonstrate its role and expertise within this huge global endeavour.

In his foreword, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, emphasised the importance of a global commitment to climate change, while also focusing on climate innovation within the UK. “If the United Kingdom’s presidency of COP26 is to be considered a success, then we should demonstrate global leadership by getting our own house in order, while helping others to do the same,” he said.

Reiterating the University’s civic commitments, Lord Bilimoria added: “We exist to extend the boundaries of knowledge and to share what we have learned for the common good. Contributing to public debates is therefore very much part of our mission and we hope this publication will help to make expert insight more accessible.”

The report is available here.