UEA praised for 'outstanding' work on climate research

Published by  Communications

On 24th Jan 2023

James Bevan presenting at UEA. He is wearing glasses, a black jacket and grey trousers.

One of the most senior voices on the environment in England, Sir James Bevan, has given a speech to students and staff at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and praised the institution’s ‘outstanding’ work on climate research.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, made the remarks on Monday 16 January, highlighting the need to focus on tackling climate change, rather than letting fear and doom deter action.

Sir James visited the UEA campus due to the University’s role as one of the early pioneers of climate research and as a producer of world class analysis for 50 years. Both its Climatic Research Unit and the Tyndall Centre have broken new ground in understanding our changing climate and how best to address those consequences. Sir James also referenced the scale of work yet to do within the research space and building international consensus on action.

Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said: “In my view, this climate doomism is almost as dangerous as climate denial. Indeed doomism might even be the new denial. And it’s equally misplaced. It’s not justified by the facts. And it risks leading to the wrong outcome: inaction.

He explained: “We know what we have to do to solve the problem. The solutions are technically quite simple.

“First, we need to reduce and as far as possible stop entirely the emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases: what the experts call mitigation.

“And second, we need to adapt our infrastructure, our economies and our lifestyles so we can live safely, sustainably and well in a climate-changed world."

He later added: “If we tackle the climate emergency right, and treat it not just as an existential risk but as a massive opportunity, we can actually build a better world: one in which we make cities which don’t just generate less carbon or which are just more resilient but are also better places to live; in which we invent new technologies that don’t just mitigate and adapt but also help nature recover from the battering we’ve given it and thrive; in which we find new ways to run successful economies so there is sustainable, inclusive growth for everyone.

“By ending the impacts of climate change on the weakest and helping them recover from things they did not cause, we help deliver justice for all.”

UEA has worked with councils and partners to develop a 25-year environmental plan to mitigate the impact of climate change on water security and sea-level rise in region. The Climatic Research Unit on UEA's campus plays a leading role in producing global temperature figures. The University’s Leverhulme PhD programme is training a new generation of 21st century climate thought leaders.

Prof Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Professor of Sustainable Energy Business and ClimateUEA Academic Director, said: “I’m thrilled that ClimateUEA has hosted Sir James Bevan on our campus. His talk engaged on a range of topics and I am looking forward to exploring where UEA’s and the Environment Agency’s expertise can jointly address environmental challenges.”

During his speech, Sir James referred to how the Environment Agency is playing a central part in tackling the climate emergency. He highlighted the three goals of the EA2025 strategy: a nation resilient to climate change; healthy air, land and water; and green growth and a sustainable future.

Sir James concluded by saying the Environment Agency is always looking for talented people who are committed to creating a better planet. He invited attendees to consider joining the agency to help tackle the climate emergency.

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