University of Leeds joins ambitious regional climate partnership

Key institutions across Yorkshire including the University of Leeds are joining forces to help tackle climate change.

Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, set to launch in March, will provide an independent voice to help support and track the delivery of ambitious climate actions across the region.

It will focus on reducing carbon emissions as quickly as possible, ensuring people in the region are prepared to cope with the impacts of climate change such as flooding, heatwaves and sea level rise.

The commission has been formed as part of the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), an Economic and Social Research Council-funded research network that builds upon the model of Leeds Climate Commission, launched in 2017.

Since 2019, PCAN has supported the development of climate commissions around the UK, including in Edinburgh, Belfast, Surrey, Essex, Croydon, Lincoln, Doncaster, York and Kirklees.

Professor Andy Gouldson, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, chairs Leeds Climate Commission and co-leads PCAN.

He said: “We are very proud of the role that PCAN has played in supporting the creation of this latest commission, as these initiatives are vital in helping us to tackle the climate crisis through collective action across sectors and in communities.

“This is the largest commission to be supported to date, and we are hopeful that it can be the most impactful by improving people’s lives throughout Yorkshire and Humber and ensuring a liveable future for us all.

“A key challenge for the new commission is to prepare a regional climate action plan to be submitted to the UN’s climate talks that take place in Glasgow later this year.

“Research, not only from the University of Leeds but from all universities and colleges across the region, will play a crucial role in providing the evidence base to underpin such an ambitious climate strategy.”

The work of the commission will be based on the principles of inclusivity and a “just transition” to help to ensure that no-one and nowhere is left behind in the response to climate change. It will also ensure that climate actions are sustainable and bring benefits to nature and local wildlife.

The commission’s creation has the support of Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board and the 22 councils across Yorkshire and the Humber. Other key partners include the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Northern Powergrid, Northern Gas Networks, the Trades Union Congress and Yorkshire Universities.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, and Councillor Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, are co-chairs of Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board.

They said: “It gives us great pleasure to announce the creation of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, an independent body that will help raise our region’s collective ambition in tackling climate change.

“The commission will encourage even greater investment in low carbon, climate resilient developments that create benefits for everyone, including a just transition for workers.

“It will also give Yorkshire and the Humber a louder, clearer and unified voice with which to call for the changes and support that we need to see at the national level so that we can achieve net-zero as swiftly as possible.”

Set to be the biggest regional commission of its kind in the UK, Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission is currently inviting applications for a number of commissioners from across a range of sectors. All positions are voluntary and will last three years.

Applications are sought from leaders in key sectors such as housing and transport and key groups including community and environment groups who would like to become commissioners, ahead of its formal launch on 17 March.

Commissioners are not paid and would be asked to commit up to 10 days a year to the role to help to shape and guide climate actions across the region.

To find out more about applying, visit the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission website and follow the commission on Twitter @YHClimateCom. The deadline for applications is Monday 15 February.