Theme 1 – Transforming to a net-zero carbon economy

In 2015, world leaders agreed in Paris to limit global temperature rise by the end of the century to well below 2 degrees, and they agreed to make an effort to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees. However, emissions have continued to increase, resulting in an estimated reduction required of at least 6 degrees per annum between now and 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5-2 degrees by 2050.

During the Covid pandemic, the economic shut down, which has resulted in huge social costs, has revealed that while pollution and carbon emissions went down it has barely dented the necessary reduction in carbon emissions. The International Energy Agency expects to see emissions down by 6-8% this year which will have no measurable effect on the world’s carbon concentration while this year is expected to be the hottest on record. The reality is emissions would have to fall by at least 7.6% every year to 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. The problem is that when everyone drives their petrol cars again and life returns as it was, the emissions will rise.

What is clear is that governments and corporations need to move unilaterally and collaboratively. The world requires swift global policy action, not just words, urgently. The world needs to get to net zero faster than what is being promised as emissions continue to rise. How will we achieve this?

Speakers include:  Robin Nicholson, Dr Waddah Ghanem, Jane Davidson

Robin Nicholson is a partner of one of the first UK cooperative architectural practices, Cullinan Studio, which he joined in 1979. He is Convenor of the multi-disciplinary Built and Natural Environment think tank, The Edge and Chairs the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel.

Robin is an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham and lectures in the UK and abroad on the work of the practice in the context of the climate emergency and the need for industrial transformation.

Previously he was a Vice President of the RIBA (1992-1994) and Chair of the Zero Carbon (Schools) Task Force (2008-2010).

Dr Waddah Ghanem has more than 23 years experience in the Oil and Gas Sector. His expertise is in several areas including HSE, Management Systems, Human Factors, Sustainability, Operational Excellence, Reflective Learning for HSE Practitioners, Safety Management as well as Environment and Energy and Resource Management. He is a prolific writer and author of technical papers, presentations and workshops and 7 international published books. 

He sits on several boards including the Energy Institute UAE and the UK; Oil Companies International Marine Forum and Dubai Carbon in the UAE. He is a Fellow of the Energy Institute (UK), a Fellow of IEMA (UK), a Member of the IoD (UK), a Member of the ASSP (USA) and an Associate Fellow of the IChemE (UK). He has been recently appointed as Chairman of the Professional Engineering Chapter of the UAE’s Society of Engineers.  

He has been the Hon. Chairman of the Energy Institute – Middle East since late 2017.

Jane Davidson is Pro Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David 

From 2000 – 2011, Jane was Minister for Education, then Minister for Environment, Sustainability in the Welsh Government, where she proposed legislation to make sustainability the central organising principle; the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act came into law in 2015. She introduced the first plastic bag charge in the UK, and her recycling regulations took Wales to third best in the world.  She created a Climate Change Commission for Wales, the post of Sustainable Futures Commissioner, and the Wales Coast Path.

Jane is a patron of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and Tools for Self Reliance Wales (TFSR Cymru).  She holds honorary fellowships from IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment), WWF, CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management), CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glamorgan. She is a RSA Fellow and in 2017 was guest faculty in the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership programme at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  She lives on a smallholding in west Wales where she aims to live lightly on the land.

Jane Davidson is the author of #futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country, the story of why Wales was the first country in the world to introduce legislation to protect future generations. #futuregen is published by Chelsea Green.

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