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Engaging with the Centre for Climate Change

In its first virtual event on 24 November, the Centre for Climate Change Engagement welcomed the Hughes Hall community to learn more about its work and plans for the future.

Presentations were given by Dr Ron Zimmern, Chair of the Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Change (HHCCE); Julie Baddeley, Director HHCCCE; Dr Markus Gehring, Director of Studies for Law; Sylvie Baird, Secretariat Coordinator of the World Economic Forum Climate Governance Initiative, and Dr Stephen Axford, Director of Strategy and the Bridge.

Dr Ron Zimmern

Dr Zimmern introduced the Centre as one which aimed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and translation between academics and business, in particular boards and non-executive directors; and to help them mitigate the effects of and adapt to climate change. He revealed the Centre’s plans to establish a knowledge brokering team for analysis and outreach, to enhance academic law in relation to climate change, and to work with Chapter Zero, a wholly owned subsidiary of the College.

Insight into the work of Chapter Zero was given by Julie Baddeley who reported a rapid growth in membership to the network, and an ever-increasing recognition of its work by the business community. Despite COVID (and because of it) the non-executive community has started to recognise the urgency of the climate challenge and uses Chapter Zero’s own purpose built toolkits to effect change.

Julie Baddeley

Chapter Zero is the UK chapter of the World Economic Forum Climate Governance Initiative, and one of 20 chapters that span the globe and adopt the eight World Economic Forum Principles for Climate Governance.  Sylvie Baird explained that since September 2020 the Centre had hosted the Secretariat of the World Economic Forum Climate Governance Initiative. Through her work as coordinator, she seeks to maximise the impact and collaboration of existing chapters as well as encourage the development of new ones; seeking to create synergy.

Dr Markus Gehring shared plans to develop the Centre’s climate change law offering. With excellent capacity at the College and University in international and EU law, the area of domestic law is less well-served. The appointment of post doctorate researchers in various aspects of private and public law, will enable the College and Centre to strengthen its legal expertise.

Dr Markus Gehring

The Centre is a major element of Hughes Hall’s research translation and impact initiative, the Bridge. Dr Stephen Axford concluded the panel presentations by explaining the Bridge’s ambitions to work collaboratively across a range of interdisciplinary themes linked to global challenges. The goal is to bring about beneficial and lasting change to society, working across the worlds of policy, business, the professions, NGOs, and many more.

Guests were invited to join small discussion groups over the topic of how Hughes Hall alumni, fellows, students and other members might wish to be involved in the work of the Centre. It was recommended that the Centre link specifically with members representing the Faculty of Education; harness the work of those involved in world-leading research relevant to climate change; connect with disciplines seemingly not related to climate change; use the College’s Bridge (formerly City) Fellows as a resource; lead College dialogue on complex and controversial related matters, and work to encourage and support students in particular to contribute and engage with it.

Further information climate@hughes.cam.ac.uk