University of Exeter: UN Climate Champion to speak at Exeter event on environmental intelligence at World Economic Forum in Davos

How business leaders can access scientific data to identify and address the global risks from climate change will be the subject of a University of Exeter-hosted event at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month.

The event, which will be livestreamed and is free to watch online, will take place on 24 May at 2pm BST and will be hosted in partnership with science communications platform Arctic Basecamp.

Nigel Topping, the UN High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 and Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter Business School, will deliver the keynote address for the session, entitled ‘Mitigating Risks and Creating Business Solutions with Environmental Intelligence’.

The session will explore how scientists can work with technology and business leaders to integrate sustainability data with advances in data science, artificial intelligence and digital technologies and services, with the aim of providing real-time, meaningful and actionable insights on global risks.

The session will look at digital platforms that link science, data science and digital technologies, and look at how such efforts can be built upon, with the aim of developing a global risks dashboard that compiles transparent, real-time and longer term trend data on social and environmental risks.

Arctic Basecamp, a group of climate scientists and experts that aims to raise awareness among global leaders of the risk posed by Arctic change, will be launching its new Arctic Risk Platform, which tracks the risks from Arctic change and their global reach.

Gail Whiteman, Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School and the founder of Arctic Basecamp, will introduce and host the session, and is set to be joined by a number of world-leading experts in environmental intelligence and global risk, as well as business leaders.

Professor Gavin Shaddick, Co-Director of the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, a joint research centre established by the University of Exeter and UK Met Office will present his work on the Climate Impacts Mitigation, Adaption and Resilience (CLIMAR) tool, which uses Data Science and AI to quantify the risks of climate change on populations, infrastructure and the economy in a way that assesses exposure and vulnerability to those hazards.

Professor Julienne Stroeve of University College London and Arctic Basecamp will be addressing the issue of Arctic change as a barometer of global risk, and Colin Butfield, Executive Director of Studio Silverback, makers of feature documentaries such as David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, will talk about the new Open Planet initiative, in which world class footage and data visualisations of our changing planet will be open sourced for the first-time to support change-makers.

There will also be responses from business on how the private sector can scale up usable environmental intelligence, including from Peter Bakker, CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Sarah Hunter, Director of Public Policy at Moonshot Factory.

Professor Whiteman said: “There is a wealth of environmental and social-economic data that can be used to monitor our planet, but not enough in a usable form that provides businesses with the information they need to mitigate risks, adapt and develop solutions to climate change.

“There is a clear need for accessible digital platforms alongside scientific expertise to help businesses take effective action and plan ahead. Environmental intelligence has the ability to galvanize leaders’ collective understanding of current and emerging risks which provides the architecture for effective action.

“This session will explore how scientists can work with technology and business leaders to break down some of the many barriers to identifying and effectively making sense of global risks, particularly those that are complex.”

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