Avoiding catastrophic climate change; Paris 2015 set the targets, can the UK deliver?

30 July 2017


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Thursday 26 October 2017

  • The UK currently has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, as part of the Climate Change Act (2008).
  • However, to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement and limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C, UK emissions must fall to net zero.
  • While the UK’s Committee on Climate Change recognises this, in its October 2016 report on actions following the Paris Agreement it identified that the UK should:
 ‘vigorously pursue the measures required to deliver on existing UK commitments and maintain flexibility to go further’ and,

 ‘set out a strategy for developing options to remove greenhouse gases from the air’

On Thursday 26 October 2017, Professor Maitland will deliver the 20th SCI Leverhulme Lecture on this important topic. He will give his personal view on what the UK needs to do to meet the challenging mitigation targets agreed at COP21 (The 21st Conference of the Parties, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference). This will include a review of how the energy landscape might evolve over the decades ahead and the difficulties we could face if we are to continue to use fossil fuels well into the second half of this century.

The lecture will outline the different roles that efficient energy usage, renewable and nuclear energy have to play, as well as the need to decarbonise fossil fuels through carbon capture and storage. There are challenging targets to be met, on challenging timescales, if the Paris 2015 Agreement is to be achieved.

SCI Leverhulme Lecture

Established in 1943, SCI’s Leverhulme Lecture is held in memory of the first Viscount Leverhulme, William Lever, founder of Lever Brothers and the driving force behind expansion of the soap production business, now part of Unilever.

Viscount Leverhulme was an active member of SCI from 1891 until his death in 1925. He received the Society’s Messel Medal in 1924 and was described as leader of one of the most important industries based on chemical science and, above all, a leader of men and an empire builder in the very widest sense of the term’.

The Leverhulme Lecture is awarded every three years by SCI’s Liverpool and North West group to promote chemical or technological research or education.

About the Speaker

Professor Geoffrey Maitland is Professor of Energy Engineering at Imperial College London and a Past President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (2014-15). He spent over 20 years in oil and gas with Schulmberger and over 20 years at Imperial, first as a young lecturer from 1974 and then from 2005 in his current post.

He was awarded the IChemE Chemical Engineering Envoy Award in 2010 for his media work explaining the engineering issues involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill. He chaired the post-Macondo review of the UK Offshore Oil and Gas Regulatory Regime in 2011 ('The Maitland Report') and in 2012 received the Rideal Lecture Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Date for your diary: Thursday 26 October 2017
Venue: Chester Town Hall, 33 Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HQ

This is a free event and by invitation only. The lecture begins at 17:00. If you are interested in attending please contact communications@soci.org.

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