UK (University of Hull) ‘We’re excited about the opportunities COP27 presents’

At COP26 in Glasgow, the University had a large presence, which included our ‘On the Edge’ production co-created with the National Youth Theatre of GB, the University’s ‘Mapping the Gaps’ project, hands on activities from the University’s Flood Innovation Centre, and our serious games ‘Mytopia – green city builder’ and ’Crabby’s Reef’. We were also very active in panel contributions, with our Chancellor Baroness Virginia Bottomley highlighting the role of our University in the regional Net Zero journey, Agota discussing the role of academia in filling the skills gap in offshore wind sector, and a panel I chaired on the arts, communities and climate action. This year, as a result of our key contributions last year, we have been awarded an increased quota for the Blue Zone, where government and NGO negotiations take place.

We’re excited to be engaging with global decision- and action-makers, sharing key learnings from our work to build global environmental resilience and energy sustainability. As a Professor of Environmental Humanities and lead for the UKRI-funded Risky Cities project, I will be using the opportunity of COP27 to highlight the University’s work on a range of crucially important climate issues. These include promoting the development of offshore wind and other essential renewable energy sources, carbon removal technologies, and effective flood resilience measures. I’ll also be highlighting our work using participatory, place-based and arts-led approaches to driving climate action and building community flood resilience.

Our contribution to these vital discussions does not end at COP27. At the University, we are focused on advancing the twin pillars of sustainability and social justice, which sit at the heart of our Strategy 2030. As part of this work, we are committed to securing carbon neutrality on our campus by the end of 2027 and ensuring the UN Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of our teaching. We are also working to better understand the disproportionate impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable people and communities – both in the UK and globally.

At the University of Hull, we are working with partners to bring the Humber region together behind a shared vision for a prosperous net zero and climate resilient future. Most recently, the University’s Aura Innovation Centre hosted the annual Waterline Summit in partnership with Marketing Humber, where we looked to address the challenges and significant opportunities facing the region as a result of the global climate crisis, from aiding SMEs in their decarbonisation journey to the implementation of internationally significant decarbonisation projects. The region’s established green energy credentials have enabled us to work towards establishing the Humber as an ideal “living lab” to develop projects that showcase how the world, particularly coastal and estuarine regions, can work towards a clean growth future.

We are also working with partners throughout the Humber to establish climate change resilience through specialised research and innovation. Alongside the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, we are working with stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors to foster resilience and adaptation to climate risks and impacts across the region. Within our Energy and Environment Institute, too, our £3m Flood Innovation Centre is working with businesses, schools and education providers to establish the Humber as a centre of excellence for developments in flood innovation, while our Risky Cities project is working with local communities, young people and arts partners to develop models for arts-led climate engagement that can be applied globally.

As we arrive at COP27, we are excited about the opportunities it presents to share with our global partners the cutting-edge research taking place at the University of Hull and to highlight the Humber region as an exemplar for innovation in climate resilience, mitigation and adaption for a changing climate future.