University of Reading: Climate Leadership Powering Reading’s Bid For City Status

Climate change research and leadership by the University of Reading is a driving force behind Reading’s bid to become a city.

The University is backing Reading’s bid for City Status, which was submitted on Tuesday (7 December) by Reading Borough Council as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.

The bid outlines 11 reasons why the town deserves to be a city, including the University being home to world-leading climate change research and Reading’s ambitious sustainability plans involving University experts.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “Reading is already a global force in climate action and sustainability. Elevation to city status would help the UK to show its continued global leadership on climate change, allowing Reading to carry on its work on climate on an equal footing with Rio or Rotterdam.

“Becoming a city would be an important piece of the jigsaw in Reading’s ambitions, and the University fully supports its bid.”

Reading’s City Status bid was designed in consultation with residents, the business community and the voluntary sector, and is celebrates everything that makes Reading a great place to live, work and visit.

Participating local authorities have been invited to submit their bids based on evidence under a range of categories that include heritage, culture and community.

Among the evidence submitted in Reading’s bid were the warming stripes designed by Professor Ed Hawkins in the University’s Department of Meteorology. The now world-famous stripes present a compelling visualisation of how global temperatures have risen since the mid-19th century due to human-caused climate change, and have been shared by the likes of Greta Thunberg and the UN as well as thousands of others around the world.

The bid document also cites the leading role Reading scientists play in climate research, including in the latest IPCC 6th Assessment Report, which outlined the latest climate change evidence and impacts on the planet. This work helped the University win the Queen’s Anniversary Prize this month.

The bid references Reading’s cultural heritage, including being home to Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde was imprisoned. The University supports efforts to turn it into an arts centre. It also highlights the town’s history and archaeology, such as Reading Abbey, which has been the subject of research and projects led by the University, and the economic role Reading plays in the region, to which the University significantly contributes.

Councillor Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “The Council is proud to submit this bid on behalf of Reading which we believe makes a compelling case for City Status.

“Everybody has their own ideas about what makes Reading so special and we have captured those in the bid document. Our powerful and resilient economy, our rich history, our unrivalled connectivity, our vibrant cultural and arts scene, our glorious diversity, our amazing voluntary sector and our strides towards zero carbon, all come together to create the unique blend which is Reading and which makes it such a great place to live, work and visit.”

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