Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission

Advancing the region’s climate leadership

Accelerating climate resilient, net-zero development through an inclusive and just transition

Overview

  • The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission will bring together public, private and third sector actors to support, guide and track the delivery of ambitious climate actions across the region.
  • The Commission will promote both climate resilience and the transition to net-zero emissions in a positive, constructive and evidence-based way.
  • The Commission will seek to promote climate action in a fair, inclusive and just way so that no-one and nowhere is left out or left behind.
  • The Commission will promote sustainability by supporting climate actions that also protect nature and biodiversity.
  • By operating at the regional scale, the Commission will support local actions whilst also promoting Yorkshire and the Humber in national and international fora and debates.

Background

  • The establishment of the Commission has been supported by the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board and by the leaders of councils across the region.
  • It has also been developed with the support of the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Northern Powergrid, Northern Gas Networks, the TUC, Yorkshire Universities and the University of Leeds.

Independence

  • The Commission will be an independent entity that informs and works with other initiatives across the region (including more local climate commissions) to support climate action.
  • The Commission is not there to duplicate existing efforts, to act as a platform for campaigning or marketing or to deliver climate actions itself.

Structures

  • The Commission will include a main Commission, a range of panels and a secretariat.
  • The main Commission will be made up of a Chair, four Vice-chairs (each representing North, South and West Yorkshire and the Humber), a Director and c.27 other Commissioners.
  • The c.27 Commissioners will include representatives from different areas, groups and sectors, with a balance between the public, private and third sectors (see table below).
  • The Commission will be supported by a small secretariat including a net-zero analyst, a climate resilience analyst, a communications lead and an administrator (all part-time).
  • The Commission will support standing panels in cross-cutting areas of on-going importance such as research and evidence, employment and skills, finance and investment and nature and biodiversity.
  • Other panels – including a youth panel – will be convened to feed into an annual regional climate summit (subject to final confirmation).

Working Patterns

  • The main Commission will meet quarterly (virtually where necessary, face-to-face when possible, on a rotating basis in the Humber, South, West and North Yorkshire).
  • Commission meetings will normally take place on Wednesdays from 3.00-5.30pm, and will be followed by a public engagement event from 6.30-8.00pm.
  • Proposals to run an annual regional climate summit are under development, with parallel panels convened to review progress and identify priority action areas.

Activities and Outputs

  • As its main initial task, the Commission will prepare a climate action plan for Yorkshire and Humber, to be submitted/presented to the UN COP26 in the autumn of 2021.
  • The Commission will publish an annual report offering a progress review and stock-take on the main issues and challenge/activities in the region to feed into local and combined authorities and the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board.
  • The Commission will also prepare and publish position papers on key topics and policy briefs that enable the region to speak more clearly to Westminster on the policy changes it needs to allow it to become a net-zero, climate resilient region*.
  • The Commission will have a website that will also include a clearing house of key initiatives, documents, data etc. from across the region and a suite of success stories showcasing the range of activities underway in the region.

Timing

  • The Commission will be established for three years in the first instance, with a review of its contribution and value-added in year three to establish whether it should continue.
  • The first (virtual) meeting of the Commission and a public launch event are planned for the afternoon and evening of 17 March 2021.

Resources and Funding

  • Start-up funding (£110k) and in-kind support for the Commission have been provided by the University of Leeds.
  • These resources have been used to support the planning and development phase, to enable engagement, network building and recruitment, to conduct baseline research for the regional climate action plan and to enable the development of a suite of case-studies in climate action from across the region.
  • The Commission has also received support for the development of a website from the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN).
  • Support for the first year of the Commission’s activities has been provided by the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board (£40k), the Environment Agency (£15k), Yorkshire Water (£15k), Northern Powergrid (£15k) and Northern Gas Networks (£10k).
  • These resources will be used to employ a Director (1 day a week), a low carbon analyst (1.5 days a week), a climate resilience analyst (1.5 days a week), a communications lead (1.5 days a week) and an administrator (1.5 days a week) for the first year of the Commission.
  • In-kind contributions have also been made by the TUC who will support the employment and skills panel and by Yorkshire Universities who will support the research and evidence panel.
  • Further philanthropic funding may be sought to support the Commission’s activities, and further sponsorship may be sought for specitic activities and events, such as the proposed Yorkshire and Humber Climate Summit.
  • Any funding is only accepted on the basis that the Commission is an independent entity. All funding support will be fully acknowledged and an explanation of what any funds were spent on will be provided. Annual accounts will be publicly available.

Affiliations

  • The Commission will participate in the PCAN+ Network to enable it to collaborate and learn from the wider network of local and regional climate commissions that are established or are emerging around the UK. PCAN is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

*Position papers and policy briefs will be published with a note saying that although the position papers represent a consensus view of the Commission as a whole they may not represent the views of all individual members.

Image (Leeds): Gary Butterfield, Unsplash