Cities and the challenges of energy, security and climate change

Scholars, local government officials, business and civil society representatives from Asia and Europe came to Leeds for the Cities, Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Conference.


This cross-campus endeavour involved four Faculties (Engineering, Earth and Environment, Business School, and Arts) and close collaboration with Leeds City Council (LCC). Around 100 people attended the event, which covered a variety of panel themes such as city energy governance, smart energy systems, transport, built infrastructure and distributed generation. Speakers came from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Norway and Germany, as well as many from Leeds and other parts of Britain.

Lead conference organiser Professor Christopher Dent (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) said: “The conference was a great success. All the presentations were highly thought-provoking and delegates were able to see important linkages between different aspects of the challenges cities face in delivering cleaner and more sustainable energy to their inhabitants. There were lively discussions in each panel and a good cross-section of different stakeholders from academia, government, civil society and business in the audience. 

“We are working closely with Leeds City Council and the Asia Europe Energy Policy Research Network on follow through actions after the conference, for example on strengthening both research links and networked relationships, as well as possible spin-off activities such as future smaller ‘workshop’ events on the policy recommendation issues arising in the conference’s concluding session.” 

Dr Tom Knowland, LCC’s Head of Sustainability, was part of the conference planning team. He will be on part-time secondment to the University during the 2014/15 academic year, working among other things on many of the practical policy recommendations arising from the conference. 

Councillor Mark Dobson, LCC’s Executive Member for Cleaner, Stronger and Safer Communities, and one of the event’s speakers, said: “It was fantastic to be invited to speak at the conference which saw those in academia reaching out to a local government practitioner, allowing us to work together to develop our shared aims and ambitions. 

“The energy and climate change agenda presents one of the biggest challenges facing us in the coming years and the research being identified is vital to developing the changes needed to create a sustainable future, from addressing transport efficiency, to developing integration methods for low carbon technology, and to engaging communities in the need to manage our energy usage. I look forward to continuing our partnership for the betterment of Leeds and other cities across the country.” 

For more details on the conference and its follow up actions contact Professor Dent  at Essential details of the conference are also at the conference website. 

Photo shows some of the conference speakers from Asia and Europe: Professor Christopher Dent (holding folder) in front of Penny Cunningham and Jenny Spear (Energy Leeds), Dr Tom Knowland (far left), Leeds City Council, and Professor Andrew Gouldson (far right) from the University’s Sustainability Research Institute.

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