Offshore wind farm at sunset. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE FREng

Our reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change. How to reduce this reliance and ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all is a major focus of discussion at COP27 and made more difficult due to the war in Ukraine.
“As a researcher in offshore renewable energy (ORE), I want to take part in the conversation and to hear from others on their views and the challenges experienced by other nations.
Achieving energy transition away from fossil fuels needs a whole-systems approach and involves working together across disciplines to achieve an energy system that works in harmony with the environment and is accessible to all.
“Attending COP27 with an exhibition stand in the Blue Zone (the UN-managed space which hosts the negotiations and brings together delegations from 197 Parties, alongside observer organisations to share their stories at panel discussions, side events, exhibits, and cultural events) will enable us to promote and raise awareness of our leading research in ORE at the University of Plymouth and through our leadership of the UK’s Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub.
“Our research helps to understand and design solutions for technical challenges in ORE, to outline economic and social benefits of ORE and its essential role in our future energy mix and in achieving net zero.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with and hear from a wide range of stakeholders and policymakers from around the world, to make connections and gain a better understanding of the global challenge of a just energy transition.”

Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS

“From my perspective, COP provides a great opportunity to discuss with leaders from policy and industry around the world about the issues facing our planet and some of the potential solutions. It allows us to outline the key research that we are doing at the University of Plymouth that is relevant to this global challenge.
“Much of my research is focused on the accumulation of plastics in the environment but there are implications of that work for climate change. On the one hand, the manufacture of plastics contributes to carbon emissions, but on the other hand many of the uses of plastics has the potential to reduce our carbon footprint take lightweight parts in cars and aeroplanes for example that help reduce fuel usage and associated emissions.
“So, in our endeavours to move towards more responsible use of planet Earth’s limited resources it is essential to have robust evidence to guide us. It is precisely that kind of evidence that my team are working to collect.
“I will be using COP27 as an opportunity to discuss some of our findings and the need to take a whole-systems approach when making policy and design interventions.
Perhaps most importantly from my perspective the meeting will give me a chance to talk to others who are working in this space, those who are working towards solutions as well as getting a better understanding of the issues facing those who are implementing interventions in industry and policy settings.”

Professor Katharine Willis

“The SDG 11, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, highlights the role of our cites in communities in driving net zero.  We need new, intelligent urban design and planning that creates resilient cities with green and culturally inspiring living conditions.
This can be achieved by researchers from SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy/Environment) disciplines working together with scientists and engineers to design and create our net-zero future.
Digital innovations like civic technology, geographic information systems, the sharing economy, open data, and digital platforms also have an important role to play in how people will understand, manage and participate in cities.
“I will be drawing on my participation in the ITU Thematic Group on Enabling People-Centred Cities through Digital Transformation, which is creating policy-based recommendations and assessment frameworks for driving digital transformation in an urban context to understand the policy frameworks we need for SDG 11.
“I look forward to having the opportunity at COP27 to engage with representatives from municipal and regional organisations and citizen stakeholders to discuss how they can work together to shape the future of urban and rural regions and the built environment.”

Professor Ian Bailey

“One of my main objectives from attending COP27 is to understand how the immense changes that have taken place in the world during 2022 are affecting the appetite of countries to maintain and accelerate the momentum that appeared to be generated at COP26.
“Some recent challenges, particularly growing levels of economic uncertainty and the effects of spiralling energy prices, indicate that countries will feel a need to attend to their individual priorities and be less inclined to take risks, working collectively in the pursuit of what they might now redefine as less urgent decarbonisation goals.
“Other pressures might pull in other directions but what the current global turbulence certainly throws into focus is the tensions that exist between short-term political, economic, and social priorities and the need for a clear-sighted and multi-decadal endeavour to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Alongside understanding these shifts, I hope to use COP27 to talk about ways governments might continue (or start) to live up to the commitments they made to achieving net-zero emissions and how they might manage the complex and contentious politics of climate action though the use of climate change acts to advance mitigation policy, through the design and operation of measures to price the social and environmental costs of emissions, and through cooperative working between central, regional and local governments.”

Dr Munira Raji

“The transition to net zero is critical, and we must develop new thinking to address technology and innovation barriers in the renewable energy sector between nations. COP27 is an opportunity to speak at the largest multi-stakeholder forum to highlight some innovative climate change and renewable energy research at the University of Plymouth.
“It presents opportunities for scientists from Plymouth to speak with world leaders, academics, activists, and representatives from businesses and industry. My research centres on natural resources and affordable, reliable, sustainable, and clean energy. Energy plays a key role in achieving all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and should be a top priority in COP27.
“All countries must rethink their energy policies. All nations should collaborate, exchange knowledge, share innovations and technology and agree on concrete action plans to accelerate the energy transition. Developed countries must support developing countries in securing investment in green energy solutions.
“I’ll be listening as I am eager to learn as much as possible on negotiations, climate change policy adaptation and the geopolitics of the energy transition.
“At the COP27 conference, I will share my experiences and forge new cross-border partnerships with other scientists working on climate change and clean energy research. And as a Sustainable Energy Geoscientist originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, I look forward to championing inclusive and just energy transition for all at COP27.”
Watch: Dr Munira Raji shared her thoughts ahead of the COP27 conference

Yve Metcalfe-Tyrrell

“My expertise is in developing and delivering projects linking high level research and innovation to policy development and solving real world problems, focusing on SDG15, 'Life on Land' and SDG2, 'Zero Hunger'.
“Building strong partnerships between academia, governments, farmers, business and the wider environmental community is key to unlocking solutions to address the global climate challenge, ensuring our food production systems help to resolve rather than exasperate environmental issues, climate change and poverty.”

ERDF initiative to help the United Kingdom become a world leader in agricultural technology and sustainability

ReCon Soil
A €2.5million project aiming to revolutionise how waste material from construction projects is managed