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Now is the time to take urgent action on climate adaptation

28th February 2022

Responding to the findings of today’s IPCC Working Group II report on climate adaptation, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Today’s report from the IPCC makes it crystal clear that adapting to the impacts of climate change cannot be an afterthought and must be a priority across all areas of government policy. It provides further global evidence of the impact of climate change, adding to the UK’s own climate change risk assessment published in January [1]. The UK and the international community must now urgently accelerate efforts to both cut emissions and improve their resilience to climate impacts. This is essential to protect homes, infrastructure, food production and the resilience of the global supply chains that our economies and people rely on.
 
Building on the Glasgow Climate Pact, this report is also a reminder to the UK and the Global North that they must act now to deliver increased climate finance to developing economies to support them with the urgent investment required to address climate change adaptation and emission cuts. Tangible progress in this area must be a key outcome of COP27 in Egypt.”

Nick Molho concluded: "Now is the time to take urgent action by backing nature and implementing policy measures that reflect the severity of this report’s findings and minimise the future impact of climate change on society, infrastructure and businesses. Public investment in adaptation measures such as flood defences must be increased alongside supportive planning reforms that encourage climate resilient developments, and policy incentives that can help drive private investment in key areas such as nature restoration."

FOOTNOTES

[1] On 10 February the Aldersgate Group held an event exploring the UK’s third Climate Change Risk Assessment featuring Baroness Brown and an expert business panel. Click here to watch the recording.

Climate adaptation

Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE appointed Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group

24th February 2022

Today, the Aldersgate Group announces the appointment of climate scientist Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE as its new Honorary President. She will take over from former Honorary President, Dame Fiona Woolf DBE [1]. Prof Shuckburgh will provide strategic scientific advice to help guide the Aldersgate Group’s objectives and work programme. 

Prof Shuckburgh is a leading public voice on climate science and brings unparalleled academic experience and insights to the Aldersgate Group. She is currently Director of Cambridge Zero [2], the University of Cambridge’s major climate change initiative, which she joined following more than a decade at the British Antarctic Survey leading a national research programme on the Southern Ocean and its role in climate.

She is also a fellow of the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Meteorological Society, and co-authored the Ladybird Book on Climate Change with HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper. To mark her outstanding achievements to date, Prof Shuckburgh was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to science and the public communication of science. [3]

Prof Shuckburgh joins the Aldersgate Group at the start of a critical year for delivering meaningful progress on climate change and the environment. The pledges made at COP26, the UK’s Net Zero Strategy and the Environment Act collectively set a clear roadmap to decarbonise the economy and restore the natural environment. A key focus for the Aldersgate Group in 2022 will be to ensure that these targets and ambitions are underpinned by detailed domestic policies that will drive affordable business investment in low carbon infrastructure, biodiversity and nature at the pace and scale called for by science. [4]

Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE said: “With carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere approaching 420 ppm, global temperature rise passing 1.1C and extreme weather becoming normality, climate commitments must be translated into action today to avert disaster. I am delighted to take on the role of Honorary President to support the Aldersgate Group and its cross-sectoral membership in promoting an accelerated, just transition to a resilient and sustainable zero-carbon economy. As the world emerges from the pandemic, it is vitally important that the voice of progressive business is heard clearly to ensure the world sets forth towards a prosperous green future.” 

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “To play its part in preventing the worst impacts from climate change, it is essential that the UK economy cut emissions to meet our interim targets. This will also allow the UK to develop a globally competitive low carbon economy which will deliver investment and jobs across the country. I look forward to working with Prof Shuckburgh to ensure that the Aldersgate Group’s work rises to the challenge.” 

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group, said: “I would like to thank Dame Fiona Woolf for the six years of service she dedicated to the Group and the strong links she helped the Aldersgate Group build with a wide cross-section of the business community in the UK.

“We are delighted to welcome Prof Shuckburgh as our new Honorary President. The Aldersgate Group and its members firmly believe that ambitious climate and environmental policies can improve living standards and deliver significant economic benefits in terms of innovation, investment in new supply chains and job creation across the country. Prof Shuckburgh’s expertise will help us ensure that our policy work continues to be grounded in the latest evidence and is in line with the speed and scale of action demanded by science.”

Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, former Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It has been a wonderful opportunity to be the Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group for six years. The Aldersgate Group is unique in understanding the critical role that ambitious businesses across the economy want and need to play to tackle climate change and I am proud to have been able to strengthen these relationships. I would like to wish Prof Emily Shuckburgh every success as she joins the Aldersgate Group at a critical time for the climate and environmental agenda.”

[1] Dame Fiona Woolf DBE was Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group from April 2015 to July 2021.

[2] More information on Cambridge Zero can be found here.

[3] A fuller biography for Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE can be found here.

[4] In October 2021, the Aldersgate Group published a Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker, outlining the key next steps in terms of policy to put all sectors of the economy on track for net zero emissions and maximise supply chain growth and job creation in the process. The report is available here.


Net zero transition is essential to delivering the Levelling Up agenda

2nd February 2022

Reacting to the upcoming publication of the UK Government's Levelling Up White Paper, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Government’s 12 missions to level up the UK set a welcome ambition to spread economic opportunities, high quality education and a good quality of life across the country. A rapid transition to a net zero emissions economy is going to be absolutely essential to deliver these goals in practice. Growing investment in renewable energy [1], building insulation [2], electric vehicles [3], public transport and low carbon industrial clusters [4] hold the key to creating jobs, improving productivity, driving private investment and skilling up the workforce across the country. If the Government is serious about its Levelling Up ambitions, it must proceed at pace with the implementation of its Net Zero Strategy [5].”  

FOOTNOTES

[1] It is estimated that the offshore wind sector will see jobs increasing from 26,000 currently to 70,000 by 2026, with jobs created in areas such as the Solent, the Humber and Scotland - Offshore Wind Industry Council [OWIC] (2021), Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Model Report 
 
[2] According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), improving the building fabric energy efficiency of every building in the country in need of retrofit will require 12,000 workers to be trained every year for about the next four years, before the need to ramp up annual recruitment by up to 30,000 workers between years 2025 and 2030. This implies an increased trained workforce of up to 230,000 by the end of the decade - Construction Industry Training Board [CITB] (2021), Building skills for net zero 

[3] It is estimated that the UK could produce around 1.6 million EVs per year by 2040 and establish seven gigafactories in national territory. These gigafactories could create up to 78,000 new jobs (both direct and in the supply chain), with 24,500 in battery manufacturing, 43,500 in the battery supply chain, and around 10,000 in EV manufacturing – Faraday report – March 2020 update. Annual gigafactory study: UK electric vehicle and battery production potential to 2040
 
[4] Low carbon industrial clusters that could support the productions of low carbon industrial products such as steel, glass and chemicals could be developed in a wide range of locations such as South Wales, Merseyside, Teesside, the Humber and the Southampton area - Aldersgate Group (2021), Accelerating the Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters and Dispersed Sites
 

[5] Aldersgate Group (2021), Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker: Key Announcements and Next Steps

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