Leeds Climate Commission on the world stage

Last week, representatives of the Leeds Climate Commission travelled to Bonn to attend COP23 – the UN Climate Change talks. The Leeds Climate Commission were speaking at an event in the UK Pavilion on the topic of: ‘Empowering cities in the transition to a low carbon economy’.

The event was chaired and introduced by Lord Deben (Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change) who has been a keen encourager of the Commission since his keynote speech at the launch event on September 7th. Adrian Gault (interim Chief Executive of the UK Committee on Climate Change) and Nick Godfrey (Director of the Coalition for Urban Transitions) also joined the event and spoke about the wider context from the UK’s perspective, and the role cities can play in climate action.

Andrew Sudmant (University of Leeds Research Fellow – Climate Smart Cities/Can Do Cities) spoke about the climate opportunities research at the Local Authority level and how the revised 2017 Mini-Stern Review for Leeds has fed into the Leeds Climate Commission’s direction and creation.

Prof. Andy Gouldson (University of Leeds and Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission) outlined the structure of the Commission, how it has engaged stakeholders and how the positive ethos of the Commission has worked so far.

The positive response the Leeds Climate Commission received throughout the COP23 experience was greatly encouraging, with many organisations interested in learning about the Leeds Climate Commission model, and most excitingly, discussing how it can be adapted and applied elsewhere. Links and relationships were made across a wide breadth of organisations, covering the UK and further afield. It was inspiring to hear from other organisations working at the city and local level across the world, and to share best practice with them.

Although COP23 may not have stolen as many headlines as Paris two years ago, and Bonn may have been about the technical detail, but it was heartening to have Leeds presented as a successful model and to be able to showcase the positive ethos imbued in the Leeds Climate Commission.