X Close

Events

Home

UCL events news and reviews

Menu

Arctic risks and rewards

GuestBlogger25 June 2016

The panel at 'Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards'

The panel at ‘Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards’

pencil-iconWritten by Dr Ilan Kelman, Reader for Risk, Resilience and Global Health (UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction)

The Arctic: The last earthly frontier of adventure, excitement, remoteness, and resources! Or is it? Given that people have lived in the high latitudes for millennia, how remote, isolated, and open-for-business-for-southerners is the Arctic?

The UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction’s Arctic Research programme convened a panel ‘Development in the Arctic: Risks and Rewards’ at UCL on 8 June to discuss these questions.

To an engaged audience of about sixty, three distinguished panellists explored how climate change and technological advances might or might not be opening up the Arctic for exploitation by the world. They examined what we know and do not know about development risks and rewards in the far north.

What realities of Arctic environmental conditions are rarely described? What Arctic social and political circumstances are frequently circumvented? What about the people who live in the region who have rights and interests? The risks and rewards regarding the so-called ‘Arctic Gold Rush’ for resources and development was examined and critiqued.

(more…)

Why the west is defaulting on climate change action

MelissaBradshaw25 February 2016

Climate change is an urgent challenge of global citizenship, was the message at the heart of Jonathon Porritt’s UCL Global Citizenship lecture on 22 February. Speaking from decades of experience working in sustainability, Porritt showed that the world is precariously balanced between commitment to and denial of global citizenship.

Jonathon Porritt, CBE giving the UCL annual Global Citizenship lecture. Photographer: Kirsten Holst

Porritt is Founder Director of Forum for the Future and acts as an advisor to many bodies, as well as to individuals including Prince Charles, and he is a Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity. He celebrated the Paris Agreement, the conclusion of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, as “one of the most astonishing agreements ever signed”. With 195 countries committed to limiting global warming to below 2°C, the agreement is a great source of hope and optimism. (more…)

Lunch Hour Lectures: The handmaiden’s emissions – international shipping in changing climates

ThomasHughes28 January 2016

“This lecture on the handmaiden’s emissions is not actually about the flatulence of household servants,” Dr Tristan Smith (UCL Energy Institute) joked at the Lunch Hour Lecture on 26 January. The “handmaiden” is in fact the affectionate nickname used for the world’s shipping – so called because it is globalisation’s servant, without which we wouldn’t have the same food, commodities or fuel.

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the first Triple-E, passing Port Said in the Suez Canal on its maiden voyage.

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, credit: Maersk Line.

However, it has a huge environmental cost in CO2 emissions that has continued to grow as GDP and demand has risen. Dr Smith has been working with the team in the UCL Energy Institute to help find solutions to cut emissions, while keeping costs low.

An average container ship has around 1,500 containers on it, with each container the size to be pulled by a single lorry. There are thousands of these ships, which in total account for about 2-3% of global emissions.

(more…)

The divestment debate: should UCL sell up?

GuestBlogger8 April 2015

pencil-icon

Written by Brigid Marriott, Faculty Communications Officer, UCL Laws

As calls for fossil fuel divestment grow, universities across the world are being forced to consider the management of their endowments. Stanford, Glasgow and Sydney universities have already begun the process of full or partial divestment from fossil fuels.

Oxford has decided to defer its decision on the issue, while Harvard is preparing to fight a lawsuit – brought by its own students – to try to force the university to drop its direct investments in coal, oil and gas companies.

Fiddlers Ferry power station

Fiddlers Ferry power station, Cheshire (credit: Alan Godfrey)

On Tuesday 24 March, the Guardian newspaper published a letter from UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres to her alma mater, Swarthmore College, calling on the college’s administration to decarbonise its investment portfolio.

That same evening, six experts from across UCL gathered to debate whether the institution should do the same and sell off its £21 million investment in fossil fuel companies.

(more…)