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CCfCS to host "Understanding the Paris Climate Summit (COP21)"

last modified Nov 05, 2015 11:44 AM
Scientific and political context for the upcoming climate summit
CCfCS to host "Understanding the Paris Climate Summit (COP21)"

Image credit: Stephanie Flude (distributed via

The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) will be held from November 30th to December 11th in Paris. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

This CCfCS event aims to provide insight into the scientific and political landscape leading up to COP21 and beyond.

Open to all, but space is limited so please register in advance here



14:00 Introduction

14:05 Dr Emily Shuckburgh, British Antarctic Survey

"Climate science: a personal view of what we know and what we don't know"

14:50 Professor Sir Richard Friend, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge

"Energy – Lessons from nature"

15:35 Tea/coffee break

16:00 Professor John Pyle, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

"Why the Montreal Protocol worked"

16:45 Sir David King, UK Special Representative for Climate Change

"Climate science and global politics, through Paris 2015 and beyond"

17:30 Discussion/reception


Speaker Biographies:

Dr Emily Shuckburgh is a climate scientist and is deputy head of the Polar Oceans division at the British Antarctic Survey, which is focused on understanding the role of the polar oceans in the global climate system. She holds a number of positions at the University of Cambridge (fellow of Darwin College, member of the Faculty of Mathematics, associate of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, associate fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy, member of the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment and fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership). In the past she has worked at Ecole Normal Superieure in Paris and at MIT. She is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and co-chair of their Climate Science Communications Group, a trustee of the Campaign for Science and Engineering and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. She has also acted as an advisor to the UK Government on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Sir Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability at the Cavendish Laboratory. He has pioneered the physics, materials science and engineering of semiconductor devices made with carbon-based semiconducting polymers and has over 600 publications and 20 patents arising from this work.  His research group was the first to demonstrate using polymers efficient operation of field-effect transistors and light-emitting diodes and their work has revolutionised the scientific understanding of the electronic properties of organic semiconductors, which are now recognised to be very suitable for use in semiconductor devices. Sir Richard has co-founded a number of Cambridge start-up companies to exploit these developments. He has received many awards and prizes for his work, including FRS in 1993, the Europhysics Prize, the Rumford Medal, the Faraday Medal, FREng in 2002, the IOP Swan Medal and the Millennium Technology Prize.

Professor John Pyle obtained a BSc in Physics at Durham. His DPhil was in Oxford where he helped to develop a numerical model for stratospheric ozone studies. After a period at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory he moved to a lectureship at Cambridge University in 1985 and is currently the Head of the Department of Chemistry and a Professorial Fellow at St Catharine’s College. He has been a co-director of NERC’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) where he is now the Chief Scientist. His research focuses on the numerical modelling of atmospheric chemistry and chemistry/climate interactions.He has published more than 250 peer reviewed papers. He played a major role in building an EU stratospheric research programme in the 1990s, coordinating several major field campaigns. He has contributed to all the WMO/UNEP assessments on stratospheric ozone since the early 1980s and is now one of the four international Co-Chairs on the Scientific Assessment Panel, responsible for these assessments. He was a convening lead author in the IPCC Special report “Safeguarding the ozone layer and the global climate system”, published in 2006. His work on stratospheric ozone was recognized by NERC’s International Impact Award and Overall Impact Award in 2015, jointly with Dr Neil Harris. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and an AGU Fellow in 2011. Other honours and awards include membership of Academia Europaea (1993), Royal Society of Chemistry (Interdisciplinary award, 1991, and John Jeyes lectureship, 2008) and the Royal Meteorological Society Adrian Gill Prize, in 2004.

The Foreign Secretary appointed Sir David King as his new permanent Special Representative for Climate Change in September 2013. Sir David was previously the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 – 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the Energy Technologies Institute. He also served as the Founding Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at Oxford; was Head of the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University 1993-2000 and Master of Downing College at Cambridge 1995 -2000.  Sir David has published over 500 papers on science and policy, for which he has received numerous awards, and holds 22 Honorary Degrees from universities around the world. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and knighted in 2003, Sir David was also made an Officier of the French Legion d’Honneur’ in 2009, for work which has contributed to responding to the climate and energy challenge.


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