Net Zero and Levelling Up: What could they mean for Yorkshire and Humber?
The UK government's path to net zero by 2050 was set out in a landmark strategy in October 2021, and in February of this year the government published the Levelling Up White Paper in recognition of the pressing need to address inequalities across the UK.
Many commentators noted the need for these policies to be more joined-up – so that actions on net zero help to address inequalities, whilst levelling up initiatives contribute to the delivery of net zero.
The opportunity for such a joined-up approach was emphasised in the Climate Action Plan published by the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission in November of last year. This online event, organised by Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, will explore the ways in which these two agendas interact, and discuss the opportunities for the region to explore them in an integrated way.
The discussion will be hosted by journalist and former science editor of BBC News, David Shukman, who reported on the UN climate conference in Glasgow before retiring from the BBC to become an independent consultant. David will lead a conversation with policy experts Michael Jacobs (University of Sheffield), Rebecca Willis (Lancaster University) and Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission director, Andy Gouldson.
For nearly 20 years David Shukman played a leading role in the BBC’s coverage of the environment with reports regularly featured on News at Ten, the Today programme and the BBC website. A pioneer of live broadcasting from remote locations from the Amazon to Antarctica, he won awards for highlighting global warming, deforestation and plastic pollution. Sir David Attenborough describes David as “a leader in raising awareness of climate change”. His TV documentary, Reporting from the Climate Frontlines, is available on the BBC iPlayer.After a career in journalism lasting four decades, David left the BBC after COP26 and is now working as a freelance journalist, speaker and consultant. https://davidshukman.com/
Michael Jacobs is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Sheffield. His research and writing focus principally on post-neoliberal economic theory and policy, and on climate change and environmental politics. From 2004 to 2010 he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers at the UK Treasury and then Special Adviser to the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, responsible for energy, environmental and climate policy. Since then he has worked with the French and UK governments, the UN Secretary General and civil society organisations to help achieve what became the Paris Climate Agreement. From 2016-18 Michael was Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice, and was principal author of its final report Prosperity and Justice: A Plan for the New Economy (2018). In 2019 he co-founded a small non-profit organization, the Economic Change Unit.
Rebecca Willis is Professor in Energy & Climate Governance at Lancaster Environment Centre, where she leads the Climate Citizens project. In 2020 she was an Expert Lead for Climate Assembly UK, the Citizens’ Assembly established by the UK Parliament. She features on the Woman’s Hour Our Planet Power List which highlights 30 women making an impact by helping to protect our planet.From 2015-2019 she was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of UKRI’s Energy Programme, and from 2011-15 she was a Council Member of the Natural Environment Research Council. She was Vice-Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, advising the Prime Minister and First Ministers of the devolved administrations, from 2004-2011. In 2009 Rebecca founded Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme, an initiative to support Members of the UK Parliament, and earlier served as Green Alliance’s Director.
Andy Gouldson is director of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission. He has worked on a wide range of issues relating to environmental policy and management since 1990. Since 2008 his main focus has been on climate change and how to promote low carbon, climate resilient development, especially at the local and regional scales. Andy specialises in engaged, impact-oriented research, and throughout his career has worked closely with policy makers, regulators, development agencies, businesses, NGOs and communities, both within the UK and internationally.Andy is also Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds and Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission.