Leeds Climate Commission – Leeds ‘Can-do’. Can others follow?

Steve Maslen, our Head of Environment, attended the launch of the Leeds Climate Commission last night in the magnificent Brodrick Hall, off Millennium Square, Leeds. Below. He gives his account of the evening and the Climate Commission.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, was guest speaker at last night’s event, and was as passionate and certain on the need for climate action as any revivalist gospel minister preaching the need for salvation.

Leeds leading the way

A city wide Climate Commission is a UK first and will provide leadership on climate issues in Leeds – delivering evidence, advising on risks and promoting resilience. It is part of a wider Can-do Cities movement to provide city based leadership on climate change. It was agreed in the panel discussion that the need for this has never been greater, particularly in the US following the Trump administrations withdrawal from the Paris Accord.

Environmental and financial savings

Professor Andy Gouldson, Chair of the new Commission, provided the ‘hot off the press’ updated Mini Stern Report for Leeds. This presented the audience with some startling economics and facts on the benefits of taking action now.

His team have calculated that organisations and individuals across the city could save £277 million per year if they invested in ‘cost effective’ energy efficiency and low carbon alternatives. These ‘cost effective’ measures make financially good sense as they pay for themselves, which seemed a no brainer to everyone at the launch event.

Jonathan Moxon, Leeds City Council Flood Risk Engineer, described how the city of Leeds was preparing to adapt and be more resilient to flood risk. This included looking at investments in the upper Aire catchment in Natural Flood Management (NFM). We are currently leading on understanding how natural flood management measures can contribute to flood resilience with the Environment Agency (EA), which we hope will in turn help cities such as Leeds in the future.

This well attended and informative kick-off event demonstrated commitment from the City Council, Leeds Businesses such as CEG, the two Universities and city communities, to reduce emissions and plan resilience. We wish the Commission well in its work and hope other cities follow their lead.

Want to know more?

Contact Steve Maslen, Head of Environment, for more information on the Climate Commission launch event or visit the Leeds Climate Commission website.

You can also contact Steve Rose, expert in Working with Natural Processes, to discuss our NFM work with the EA and further NFM projects we are developing. Or why not take a look at our other NFM projects in the Knowledge Hub.

For Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation information, please contact Rachel Brisley, Lead for Sustainability and Climate Change.

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