This week, the city of Oxford played host to an international conference on “achieving net-zero”.

The conference was organised by the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Spread across three days, the conference attracted a varied mix of around 160 science and policy researchers, energy experts and industry representatives. Barry was invited to speak in the closing plenary session on the final day of the conference.

Carbon Brief have provided a summary of the conference:

Discussing the failure of the Copenhagen UN climate summer in 2009 and the success of Paris six years later, Gardiner noted “politics is the only way we have to achieve climate justice”.

The impact of Extinction Rebellion and the youth climate strikes in recent months has “absolutely transformed here in the UK the way in which politicians are approaching the issue of climate change”, said Gardiner. “We change things because we’re no longer talking about climate change, we’re talking about the climate emergency,” he added”

“And that’s a big thing in parliament. And in framing things as a crisis, we’re coming to the understanding that our response has to be motivated by what is political[ly] convenient, but [also] what the cold logic of climate science demands of us.”

Asked by an audience member about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on the UK’s membership of the EU ETS, Gardiner said it would be a “complete disaster for just about everything, but in particular for our climate targets”.

And finally, responding to a question about the UK’s leadership at next year’s UN climate summit – which will be hosted in Glasgow – Gardiner warned that “one of the things that really worries me about COP26 is the complete lack of diplomatic preparation. The recent cuts to the number of government officials dedicated to climate climate has left “an appalling situation as the host of the COP”, he added.

“Internationally, the credibility our country has on climate change is enormous and we need to leverage it at COP26,” argued Gardiner. But “we will not be able to do that” unless the UK is “making those diplomatic engagements” and alliances with “a clear strategy of what we want out of the COP”.

Gardiner said that just two days ago, Claire Perry O’Neill MP – who will be COP26 President – told him that “I do not have an office; I do not have any officials; and I have no administrative back-up whatsoever”. “I don’t know when or if that’s going to be resolved,” continued Gardiner, “but if it’s not, the idea of us actually setting realistic targets for the outcomes that we want from COP26 are straight down the pan – and this government has to get to grips with it”.

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search