The Wales Climate Week Daily Bulletin is produced by a team of students from Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics. We’ve taken inspiration from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, and are working with the ENB’s COP 26 Team Leader, Dr. Jen Allan, to provide a daily record of the key points from the events at Wales Climate Week. Taken together, these daily reports will help showcase the range of climate action happening around Wales and opportunities to do more.

The students involved with this project are:

  • Elizabeth Brittan
  • Carys Cox
  • Ellie Cooper
  • Phoebe Elkington
  • Sinead Gallagher
  • Jia Chyang Ho
  • Alex Kirilov
  • Melissa James
  • Ruhaab Khalid
  • Ellie McAdam
  • Dylan McCandless
  • Rachel Nazareth
  • Daniel Philitoga
  • Lauren Roseblade
  • Malgorzata Rudnicka

Please extend the drop down menu below to access the bulletins from different days:

WALES CLIMATE WEEK DAILY BULLETIN – DAY 1 (22 November 2021) - Wales and the World

Welcome to Wales Climate Week

This session reflected on the recent UN Climate Change meeting held in Glasgow, and outlined the nation’s collaborative effort to meet the Net Zero Wales plan.

First Minister Mark Drakeford welcomed participants to Wales Climate Week 2021. Reflecting on the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, he underlined that Wales’ small size was no deterrence to the sizeable impact they had in Glasgow and highlighted Wales joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance with nations such as Denmark and New Zealand. Drakeford looked forward to continuing Wales’ strong stance on tackling the climate crisis, saying that COP Cymru 2021 is part of that effort, which involves not just the Welsh Government leading but working together as a nation “taking our fellow citizens with us.” To collectively mitigate emissions, Drakeford highlighted plans to “work together to reach net zero.”

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, showcased Wales efforts as an early international leader on tackling climate change. She highlighted Wales as a founding member of the Under2 Coalition in 2015, which includes 260 governments and said that Wales is now refocusing efforts to reach net zero, which includes 123 government proposals such as building 20,000 low-carbon social homes. James identified the need for a “just transition” to mitigate climate change and to build climate resilience that is socially just, saying that the burden of the transition should not fall on the shoulders of those least able to bear it.

John Gummer Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, praised the strong connections between local and national governments in Wales. He turned to the individual impact, stating that “you do not change the world unless you change yourself, ” and advocated for household changes. Deben argued that this is a global problem that requires a global solution and the “heart of the battle is justice.” He called it “immoral” for the UK government to reduce overseas funding for developing nations, especially since developed nations like the UK have directly and disproportionately affected climate change.

Sophie Howe, Future Generation Commissioner for Wales, argued that Wales should be encouraging changes that seek to solve the root causes of the problem. She highlighted the UN Secretary General’s intent to appoint a special envoy for future generations, drawing on efforts that began in Wales, including the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act. Despite this international influence, Howe called for Wales to do more. In 2019, Wales declared a climate emergency, but Howe noted that no Sell to Wales Contract out of 363 referenced reducing emissions.

Clare Pillman, Chief Executive, Natural Resources Wales, outlined the importance of changing the narrative of leadership, saying “this crisis requires us to think differently.” She stressed that a single leader per organisation will not have all the ideas, and called for including workers because that is where the “energy” lies and the approach can foster a “more democratic approach to leadership.” She characterized confronting climate change as a journey that will require learning at each step and collaborating with all kinds of organisations.

A Just Transition: Future-Proof Our Work
Hosted by TUC Cymru

In this session representatives from trade unions and industry in Wales discussed the role of workers, unions, and communities in the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Shavanah Taj, BME General Secretary, Wales TUC, began by discussing the commonly used term “just transition,” stating that it demands inclusion of and focus on workers and communities, with a strong intersectional approach. She expressed her disappointment at the UK government’s use of the phrase in plans that lacked accountability and investment in financial support and retraining. However, she ended on a note of hope at the high level of participation, particularly among young people at the climate change conference in Glasgow.

Meesha Nehru, Labour Research Department, discussed the recent report “Negotiating Net Zero '' that provides examples of successful interventions in the UK and abroad. She praised the Spanish Plan de Cabon for providing support for new green industries and retraining and support for those that lost their jobs in traditional industries such as mining. She highlighted the Bristol Green Capital partnership for its collaboration between businesses, investors, and local government to ensure environmental investments reflected community interests. Finally, she noted the success of Environmental Recognition agreements, but suggested a push towards union-corporation collaboration and transition planning.

Jacqueline Thomas, a steelworks professional, focused on the necessity of keeping industry within Wales rather than outsourcing emissions by importing the same resources from abroad. Thomas focused on the importance of industries such as steel as quality sources of employment to communities, recalling her first-hand experience with the devastation brought by the 1980’s mine closures. She noted the steps taken by the Welsh steel industry including internal energy efficiency procedures and CO2 surcharges and encouraged further workplace sustainability practises.

Eleri Williams, Change Analyst, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales opened with her report “Inequality in Future Wales” that highlighted the importance of setting government plans in the realistic context of future Wales. She reiterated the need for accessible retraining programmes, including flexible hours and a range of courses. As well as the need for greater investment in sectors such as caring, she highlighted the need to counteract the issue of ageing populations and provide opportunities geared towards a more diverse and female demographic.

Mary Williams, Head of Political and Policy, Unite the Union, analysed three industries of particular importance to the Welsh economy. She began with Aerospace, suggesting the government should invest in green projects within the industry rather than transitioning away. She discussed energy and the impacts of “eco-redundancies” without financial support or retraining in similar roles. Finally, she highlighted the agriculture industry and its urgent need for investment to counter its ageing workforce and attract those willing to transform the sector sustainably.

Overall, the panel held a strong consensus on the need to invest in retraining and transitioning industries in a way that keeps workers and communities informed and involved with a focus on intersectionality and accessibility.

Wales - an international partner in a global crisis

This session discussed the ways in which members of the Under2 Coalition are working to reduce emissions and keep warming within 1.5 ºC.

Tim Ash Vi, Director, Under2 Coalition, welcomed everyone and outlined the focus on international cooperation. He highlighted the importance of bringing governments together as they attempt to combat climate change.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Scotland, underlined cooperation and collaboration, saying that the Under2 Coalition creates a network which enables governments to effectively collaborate to tackle climate change. He emphasised that smaller states have a less ability to face climate change alone, requiring working as a collective to be more effective. Going forward, Matheson suggested that support among countries should be improved, in order to achieve ongoing and regular cooperation. He pointed out that sub-national governments are playing an increasingly important role, as we enter the “delivery period” of climate change action.

Arantxa Tapia, Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment of the Basque Country, discussed ways in which the Basque government is supporting a transition to net zero. She detailed that the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow demonstrated that there is still a need for acceleration in areas such as climate finance. Tapia described how the Basque Country is aiming to take the climate into account when considering all aspects of policies. Furthermore, she highlighted the importance of working with local governments, in collaboration with scientists and citizens, to deliver strategies.

Oswaldo Lucon, Special Advisor, Government of Sao Paulo, described the benefits of the Under2 Coalition, highlighting how the network allowed for the identification of weaknesses in current strategies and the ability to model more effective ones. He described how his ambitions for connections go beyond just Sao Paulo and Brazil, to include others in the Global South. With all the difficulties that lie ahead regarding climate change, he stressed that networks are essential for keeping on track.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, reflected on her feelings of both optimism and outrage while at the Glasgow meeting. She highlighted how beneficial she found connecting with colleagues from the Under2 Coalition and discussing their shared problems and strategies. She also stressed the importance of individuals’ actions and how they can make a difference. James praised how Wales demonstrated its influence on a global stage, despite being a small country. Similarly, she highlighted the level of influence now held by the Under2 Coalition.

Closing the session, Matheson expressed a feeling of “cautious optimism” regarding the Glasgow meeting. He noted the next UN Climate Change Conference will be a real test regarding how far governments are willing to go with climate policies. Tapia, although also expressing optimism after Glasgow, emphasised the need for action.

The youth of Wales – their say on the climate emergency

In this session, young people reflected on the UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow and discussed its impact. In response to discussions held at the conference, they also highlighted some priorities the government should consider in order to effect necessary climate action.

Emily Rose Jenkins, Future Generations Leadership Academy alumni, described how the threat of climate change in her own local area motivated her to speak out about climate change. She recognised education as an important tool to encourage and empower young people to use their voice and how events like Youth day help to involve school children. She stressed that the Welsh Government needs to work closer with the community to make it clear what the future of climate change could look like without adaptation and building resilience.

Joshua Beynon, Future Generations Leadership Academy alumni, shared how he was compelled to take action against climate change in response to the increased risk of flooding in his local area. He reported that during the Glasgow conference there was significant coverage of the events and also special focus on the influence of Wales in addressing the climate emergency. He said that this had a positive impact and generated increased awareness amongst the community. He shared hope that people will be more aware of climate change but suggested that the government needs to work with the community and provide individuals with resources so they feel more confident that they can make positive changes.

Poppy Stowell-Evans, Chair, Youth Climate Ambassador for Wales, highlighted that climate change is a significant barrier to equality across the world. She also highlighted that activism needs to be more accessible to all. She reflected on the UN Glasgow meeting and her discussions with Indigenous Peoples from Peru who relayed how their livelihoods had been tragically impacted by climate change. She suggested that more pressure needs to be put on the government to hold businesses accountable.

Shenona Mitra, Vice Chair and Communications Officer, Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales, described the importance of speaking up to pressure decision makers to implement positive changes. She suggested that more change needs to be implemented to make discussions about climate change more accessible, saying that accessibility would improve discussions and enable the government to work effectively with the community to create strategies to incorporate everyone in their vision for the future.

Rosalind Skillen shared how she felt compelled to activism as a moral obligation. She highlighted that the climate crisis is a matter of social justice and equality and reflected on parliamentary progress in relation to climate action in Northern Ireland. She reflected on the need to improve methods of raising climate awareness because at present discussions use technical language and alienate large audiences. She suggested that information should be presented in a way that is more relatable and creative, through mediums of storytelling.

WALES CLIMATE WEEK DAILY BULLETIN – DAY 2 (23 November 2021) - Energy and emissions

Industrial decarbonisation – moving towards Net Zero

hosted by the South Wales Industrial Cluster

This session, hosted by the former First Minister of Wales, Professor Carwyn Jones, explained how the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SIWC) is charting the course to net zero. The speakers focused on the decarbonisation of their respective industries.

Jeremy Smith, RWE Generation’s Hydrogen Business, focused on SWIC’s capabilities and actions to ensure prosperity in South Wales. Touching on the challenges surrounding decarbonisation, Smith presented “A Plan for Clean Growth for the South Wales Industrial Cluster”, which covers the hierarchy of decarbonisation, needed infrastructure, low-carbon energy supply and policy aspects. Smith spoke about hydrogen as a way to decarbonise the UK’s industrial clusters and described it as a “backbone for Britain” to reach net zero by 2050. 

John Egan, HyNet, shifted focus from the South to the North-West region. He discussed activities that are currently underway to reduce emissions within this decade. Egan noted that HyNet’s actions include bringing together major emitters across sectors to reduce their emissions. Egan explained facilitating the switch to hydrogen and how it can be blended into the natural network. He also covered hydrogen production and funding and recognised HyNet as “a piece of the solution”, concluding by stressing the importance of moving forward in the effort to utilise hydrogen. 

Henry James, Industrial Clusters at Wales and West Utilities, addressed regional decarbonisation pathways and hydrogen pipeline infrastructure. On infrastructure, he touched on efforts to map out locations of hydrogen production, project hydrogen demand and assess existing gas distribution network pipeline infrastructure. Besides familiarising the audience with the Future Leaders Group within the SWIC, he spoke about the Cluster Plan and Deployment entities within the SWIC. Furthermore, he presented ambitions to reduce the carbon intensity of gas.

Jim Woodger, LanzaTech UK, discussed technologies LanzaTech has developed to address the challenges of decarbonisation. These included gas fermentation and alcohol-to-jet technology. Woodger described the gas fermentation method, explaining how it converts gases into ethanol and creates a continuously recycled carbon cycle. Moreover, he shared alcohol-to-jet technology as a solution to decarbonise aviation by providing more sustainable aviation fuel.

Max Barthelme, Protium, began by describing the different uses of hydrogen and its production methods. He also gave an overview of Protium, which focuses on renewable energy, green hydrogen production and storage, hydrogen distribution and zero emissions transport. He noted that “nothing about hydrogen is new”, and claimed its uses are far from limited. Barthelme concentrated on a project with Budweiser, described as a plan to brew beer with “sun, wind, and water”, which would be the UK’s first hydrogen powered brewery. 

At the end of the session, participants asked about the timescales of change and affordability for customers.

 

New build housing – a net zero approach

hosted by the Welsh Government

The session centred around decarbonising housing in Wales, developing net zero approaches to new builds and reducing carbon emissions of the existing housing stock.

Darren Hatton, Innovative Housing Programme, Welsh Government, introduced the Innovative Housing Programme, which aims to challenge traditional approaches to constructing houses and test innovative solutions. He said that the programme secured £145m of funding for nearly 2,000 innovative homes across 64 housing developments. He outlined three achievements: fast delivery of homes; trials of new housing models and delivery methods; and lower emissions. Citing some hurdles, Darren remained optimistic that we can deliver 20,000 low-carbon socially rented homes by 2026.

Patrick Myall, Architect, Welsh Government, spoke about the decarbonisation of social homes owned by local authorities and registered social landlords. He identified the main challenge is decarbonising heating and hot water. Myall presented the Welsh Government’s policy, the Optimised Retrofit Programme, as a method to deliver affordable warmth and decarbonisation, through balancing fabric measures, technology and grid decarbonisation. He emphasised the work required to guarantee that retrofit designs are installed properly, and the need to ensure that tenants are engaged and understand the importance of these changes to their homes.

Campbell Lammie, Senior Housing Standards Technical Officer, Welsh Government, began by stating how innovation and affordability have shaped Wales’s response to the climate change emergency and stressed the importance of acting in the next decade. He focused on changing the way homes are built, considering the new standards set out that require higher quality homes that move away from fossil fuel heating with a fabric first approach. He outlined the three requirements of home construction: sustainability; space, or, accommodating households of various sizes; and security. 

Andy Sutton, Chief Innovation Officer, Welsh Government, completed the panel by addressing how the national grid is decarbonising and how forecasts of carbon neutral housing can support the current effort towards net zero. He ran through the success of projects Parc Eirin and Parc Hadau to exemplify net zero in reality. Sutton then detailed thow digital tools could help people understand and identify energy drains in their home, concluding by noting the significantly higher value currently placed on energy efficiency houses. 

 

Marine Energy – how innovations can complement a decarbonised energy system 

hosted by Marine Energy Wales

This session explored the potential for Wales to become a leader in marine energy by discussing the lessons learned from pilot projects.

Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Wales, launched the session on marine energy by introducing Marine Energy Wales (MEW). She outlined the four main ways energy could be harnessed from the ocean: tidal stream, tidal range, wave and flow. Hooper went on to highlight the importance of generating power from multiple sustainable sources and underlined how lucky Wales is to have such resources to utilise. 

Osian Roberts, Minesto, discussed the company’s development of the “under-water kite,” and its role in the future of renewable energy. He described how the kite functions by “flying” beneath the waves, and manipulating water into a turbine. He highlighted the advantages of the reliability and predictability of the kite. Roberts also discussed how integration with local communities was an important factor in the company’s successful tests in Wales. Finally, Roberts emphasised how the current prominence of the climate emergency should be capitalised upon in order to make a difference to the energy mix in Wales. 

David Jones, Simple Blue Energy, began by presenting Simple Blue Energy’s vision to create a low carbon offshore energy sector in the Celtic Sea that would contribute to the net zero target, provide jobs, supply chain diversification and energy security. He presented a video showing how offshore installation is used to develop renewable energy production and promote a sustainable future. He identified challenges that offshore energy production presents, namely the infrastructures’ size and installation process. Jones concluded by contending that marine energy sectors will be paramount in achieving net zero. 

Sam Leighton, Bombora, stressed the importance of innovation and decarbonisation, introducing Bombora’s technical innovation, mWave. He touched upon the Pembrokeshire Project and the process of building the world’s most powerful wave energy component. Leighton ended his presentation by considering what needs to be done in terms of innovation, noting the significance of new technological ideas, the ability to adapt and the importance of further partnerships to increase the harnessing of wave energy as a sustainable energy source. 

Henry Dixon, Tidal Wave Alliance and North Wales Tidal Energy, discussed why the use of Tidal Range is a “no brainer.” He emphasised that the reliability of the system means it is well situated to assist other forms of energy in providing base load. He noted the role tidal lagoons and barrages can play in the protection of coastal communities, especially in the face of rising sea levels. Finally, he considered how tidal range projects can assist with “levelling up”, through the provision of a range of jobs within communities. 

 

Power to the People – decarbonisation of energy for industry and society 

hosted by SWITCH Connect

This session highlighted the work undertaken by Universities in Wales to support the transition to net zero. 

Professor Dave Worsley, Swansea University, described the upcoming SWITCH programme as a “catalyst for change” for decarbonisation, through delivering new low carbon products, new jobs and opportunities for global collaboration. He outlined that the project is made up of three programmes, and covers areas including power, transport and buildings. Worsley emphasised the importance of adapting their work in order to allow for a wider impact in communities.

Joanna Clarke, Swansea University, described how active buildings significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by integrating renewable energy technology. She gave the example of applying the technologies in the Active Classroom and Office on Swansea University Campus. Clarke highlighted how the technology in active buildings has the potential to transform the lives of rural communities living in the global South through projects like Sunrise.  

Professor Alan Guwy, University of South Wales, presented key milestones in various past and present hydrogen transport projects. In addition to this, he highlighted developments in hydrogen transport and the potential for further expansion in the transport sector and ways in which it could transform industry and domestic life.

Dr Christopher Groves, Cardiff University, examined social attitudes towards the transition to low-carbon energy systems. He discussed ongoing work in Welsh communities with new energy systems, investigating how the community’s concerns can impact how the energy systems are perceived, noting that research can inform plans, as projects develop, to mitigate “energy vulnerability.” Groves highlighted the importance of engaging communities regarding changes being made to their energy systems. 

 

The circular economy – a move to sustainable consumption

hosted by the Welsh Government

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, described his sense of optimism and terror following discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. He emphasised the importance of bold action to reduce the effects of climate change and supported the need to nurture the circular economy. To overcome challenges, he suggested working collectively to change behaviours and make renewable options more accessible.

Natalie Rees, Transport for Wales (TFW), highlighted the benefits and practicality of renewable development. She described some of the renewable choices TFW made during its office relocation to Pontypridd, including reusing and recycling old furniture. Furthermore, she said collaboration with other local organisations, including the Rype Office, helped to strengthen TFW’s efforts. Rees highlighted that the project generated social benefits including through a partnership with the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind. 

Bettina Gilbert, WRAP, highlighted how the circular economy can help to build strong and resilient businesses. She outlined that WRAP offers support to help policy makers, businesses and the public sector to develop strategies to reduce their dependence on raw materials. She emphasised the impact of recycling and how it can be utilised to develop a more resilient supply chain.

​​Phoebe Brown, Repair Cafe Wales, shared the core values of the project, particularly waste reduction, sharing skills, and community cohesion. Besides preventing items from being thrown away, Brown described Repair Cafe as a way to conquer social isolation. She showed items usually repaired in Repair Cafes and carbon emissions savings resulting from repairs. Furthermore, she emphasised the contribution to the wider Right to Repair movement.

Ella Smillie, Benthyg Cymru, described borrowing and lending as a response to the problem of overconsumption and inequality. She emphasised the importance of creating places for people to share skills and donate things they do not need. She described Benthyg Cymru as a community-led project focused on low pricing. Smillie mentioned the disconnection between the enthusiastic responses to the project and the actual uptake, highlighting the significance of promotion.

Stephen Maund, Mold Plastic Reduction, outlined the actions undertaken as a part of Mold Plastic Reduction. Maund mentioned different partnerships and community allyships. He emphasised the need for the project to be embedded in the community. Furthermore, Maund stressed the significance of engaging the community and, as an example, named litter picking and the Naked Takeaway project.

The panellists concluded by discussing topics raised in the Q&A section, including ways to encourage taking bold steps towards behaviour change. They also addressed the challenges businesses face, particularly adapting to the shift from a linear to circular economy.

WALES CLIMATE WEEK DAILY BULLETIN – DAY 3 (24 November 2021) - How Wales is Responding to the Climate Emergency?

From Declarations to Action: Partnership Working on the Climate Emergency

In this session, panellists from Cardiff University, Cardiff Council, and the Welsh Government explored progress since they declared a Climate Emergency in late 2019. Lorraine Whitmarsh, Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations (CAST), University of Bath, moderated the discussions and said that the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has been a prompt to reflect on the progress that has been made and the huge challenges we currently face.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, emphasised that in the next “decade of action,” it is vital that the world must work in partnership to tackle climate change. James made clear that working in partnership is key to enable the transformation we need in order to achieve net zero goals. Further, James stressed the importance of coherent public policies that consider the various impacts on people, saying that engagement is key to address these issues and develop collective action. James also expressed how well the Welsh Government already works through partnership across all tiers, from the citizens all the way up to the top.

Huw Thomas, Leader, Cardiff Council, discussed the work that the Council has already taken to work towards their targets. Thomas highlighted that the Council has installed solar energy systems, LED street lighting, and a sustainable food market, and planted 10,000 trees in the city with further plans to reopen the canals as part of a sustainable water scheme. Thomas stressed the need for clean, sustainable energy and reported on the progress of the new 9 megawatt solar farm in reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Thomas also emphasised how social policy and environmental policy can, and must, go hand in hand. Thomas discussed the real opportunities to build back greener and fairer following the pandemic, such as hybrid working which can save around 5,000,000 miles from Council staff not travelling to work for one day a week.

Mike Bruford, Cardiff University, stated that being a single institution spread across the city has a series of challenges, and highlighted the University’s operational issues. Bruford emphasised that the University’s mission is education and research, and whilst it must reach its net zero targets, it must also work within the community. Bruford also stated how partnerships happen organically within the University, citing the example of work with the Council and National Resources Wales involving spatial planning and the tree canopy cover for the city. Furthermore, Bruford highlighted the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the University, including the opportunity to re-assess how the University needs to work in the future and to compare the University’s emissions in the past 18 months to its pre-pandemic baseline.


Food for thought – how the food business is driving sustainability 

Hosted by Welsh Government

The session highlighted current steps being taken to improve sustainability in Welsh food production and manufacturing, to reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions.

David Morris, Deputy Head of Food Division, Welsh Government, stated that food manufacturing accounts for 12% of the greenhouse gas emissions in Wales. He emphasised that all Welsh Government policy needs to be viewed through the lens of climate change. He said that a holistic approach should be taken of the entire food chain to assess the impact on climate, how the industry contributes and how to address the challenges.

Morris added that the Welsh Government is not attempting to greenwash. He emphasised its commitment to B-corp and confidence that the accreditation it backs will be held to a high standard across the globe.

Dr Claudia Guy, Head of Sustainable Futures, Welsh Government, discussed the importance of policy actions and values in increasing sustainability of the industry. She introduced the Welsh Government strategic vision, “to build a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink industry with one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world.”

Guy identified sustainability as not exclusively net zero. Instead, sustainability should demonstrate a set of values in the supply chain, for example managing resources and environment preservation and efficiency.

She emphasised the support available through the Welsh Government to be B-Corp accredited, which is considered the gold standard for sustainability within the industry.

Guy concluded that consumer behaviour is an important factor considering what and how much we eat and how much we waste.

Mark Grant, Head of Sustainability Cluster and Associate Director, Levercliff introduced the sustainability cluster and its vision to make Welsh food and drink the most sustainable in the world, bringing together interests and common problems.

Set up in the past 8-10 months, the cluster hopes to lead and manage in five key areas:   building awareness; developing skill, capability and capacity; improving knowledge; insight and research; and promoting best practice.

The cluster currently involves 80 suppliers, brand Wales marcomms, academia, primary agriculture and organisations such as B-corp. It is managed by monthly meetings and regular reporting to key stakeholders, to assist suppliers in recognising their current situation and the ongoing support required.

Grant is seeking to expand the sustainability cluster and calls upon suppliers who are keen to improve their sustainability credentials to join.

David Jason Murphy, Operations Director, AMRC Cymru, states that the aim of AMRC is to produce food by the most sustainable method possible. AMRC’s site has created a world-class centre for advanced manufacturing, combining cutting edge applied research with skills development.

Its High Value Manufacturing Catapult works with thousands of small manufacturing companies to improve business performance, by transforming their products, their manufacturing process and workforce skills.

Murphy highlighted that AMRC is assisting in food and drink industry decarbonisation through implementing industrial digital technology. They are using digital plant simulations to map production processes to identify bottlenecks and constraints. He highlighted some of the innovative projects AMRC is currently undertaking. He stressed the importance of simultaneous government and private investment in AMRC and the economic benefits it provides to the UK.


Accelerating action to manage Wales’ flood risk in an ever-changing climate

This panel discussed flooding as one of the biggest risks associated with climate change. Panelists emphasised the urgent need to raise awareness of flood risk management and climate change adaptation. 

Jeremy Parr, National Resources Wales, set the context of flood risk in Wales and provided a foundation for the subsequent speakers. Drawing on a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Parr highlighted that climate change is rapid and intensifying, with one in eight households at risk in Wales. Building from this, he emphasised the need for adaptation to climate change and action to protect Wales’ vulnerable coastal communities.

Ross Akers, National Resources Wales, expressed the vital need for a strong adaptation agenda. He stated that the flood infrastructure currently in place is not up to date with the current risk of flooding experienced in recent years, and that it is important to think about an adaptive and flexible approach in the future. Akers urged the need to work with nature instead of continuing to fight against it. Additionally, Akers discussed the issue of being in a climate emergency alongside a natural emergency and that building infrastructure can run the risk of destroying vital ecosystems. Akers also highlighted that flooding is not just a water issue, it is a societal issue that seriously impacts many communities and homes in Wales.

Dominic Scott, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, highlighted the issue of water treatment and sewage running next to rivers and coasts that are all expected to be affected by flooding. Scott further emphasised that to have resilient communities we need integrated long-term planning and understanding of other risk factors. He stated the importance of working alongside local authorities and Natural Resources Wales to address coastal erosion. Additionally, Scott stated that for integrated planning we need to accept the need for further development and to make sure that it doesn’t affect our wastewater assets in Wales. Further, he observed that the first cycle of long-term planning will help assess the impact on wastewater treatment and improve climate resilience.

Jean-Francois Dulong, Welsh Local Government Association, discussed resilience and the importance of a community’s ability to bounce back from a flood event. When asked about flood defence systems, Dulong emphasised we cannot “fight fire with fire,” and must be transparent with individuals that it is sometimes more sustainable to adapt to the growing flood risks rather than build further defences. Dulong discussed that long-term, sustainable planning against flood risks needs to start now, and local communities need to be educated and involved in the journey towards adapting to these new risks.

Darren Thomas, Pembrokeshire County Council, assessed the flood risk in Pembrokeshire as a coastal area, and highlighted the increased storminess and rainfall in the area. Thomas discussed Pembrokeshire's current flood defence systems, and emphasised the importance of new methods of adaptation as it becomes increasingly difficult to build defences against the growing flood risks. Thomas pointed out that social attitudes need to be considered, given that some defence systems may disrupt local ecosystems. For Thomas, individuals need to understand, and be involved in, the adaptation process against flooding, and he underlined that it is not just a technical issue.

 

Achieving Net Zero Wales - a business perspective 

Hosted by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and Business in the Community Cymru 

Intro: Business leaders explored some of the challenges, opportunities and achievements to date as the private sector embarks on strategies to develop net zero business models in the light of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 (“the 2015 Act”). They highlighted the need for the private and public sector to collaborate alongside policy makers and citizens in order to address the issue of climate change.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, set the tone for the session by highlighting climate change as a mainstream issue and emphasised the need for urgent action. She described how the 2015 Act provides the public and private sector with a blueprint for development, and urged them to use it as an opportunity to innovate together using a “Team Wales” approach. She encouraged both sectors to take the opportunity to address broader societal issues as they develop strategies for sustainability.

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy, also emphasised the importance of collaboration between government, the public and private sector and individuals in order to tackle climate change effectively. He encouraged optimism and suggested that a just transition can be achieved and enable the whole of society to progress if opportunities for development are distributed evenly.  

Danielle Bragg, Solicitor, Capital Law, described how collaborative efforts are being facilitated through the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) project. The project brings together the expertise of industry professionals, academics and government in order to help create solutions and offer guidance to industries to help them make relevant investments in innovative renewable energy technologies.

Ian Mansfield, Chief Operating Officer for Principality Building Society, stated that the business has recently made the ambitious commitment to become net zero by 2030. Mansfield emphasised that the organisation is only at the start of its journey, but has already started making small sustainable changes that make a big difference, such as changing all lightbulbs to be eco-friendly. Mansfield is proud of the Principality’s  arrangement with a climate partner, and that it has made carbon literacy training in the company mandatory. Mansfield is aware that as a well-established organisation it has a large impact across Wales, and aims to use this to encourage businesses to work together towards net zero, stating that no business can achieve this alone. 

Gareth Jones, Founder and CEO of TownSq, stated that TownSq is part of a B Corp Community, and emphasised the importance of such movements to effectively bring together businesses. Jones also stated that the B Corps involvement makes recruitment easier as people can trust that it is a company that has a sustainable vision for the future. Jones is clear that we could have avoided the current climate situation years ago, and so it is imperative that we act now. Jones, however, emphasises that not all small businesses can afford to make green choices such as joining B Corps, and so they must be supported to reach a Net Zero future.

Mari Stevens, Chief Marketing Officer of Ogi, highlighted that Ogi hopes to contribute to Net Zero by driving the future generations agenda. Stevens emphasises that in recent years there is a growing market imperative and customer participation towards going green. She highlights that this makes it easier for businesses to put climate goals and sustainability at the centre of their business agenda. Stevens' main point was that businesses must learn from each other's expertise to work towards Net Zero.


A National Issue and a Local Approach - how local Government is taking action 

Hosted by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)

Intro: In this session the Welsh Local Authorities demonstrated their commitment to decarbonisation and their ambition to become net zero by 2030. Since announcing a climate emergency they have adopted many changes and continue to develop their approach in response to current results and as opportunities for innovation become available.

Nigel Brinn, Executive Director working at Powys County Council highlighted the complexities of planning which arise as a result of the diversity of the towns, cultures and societies contained within the expanse of the council. As a result the council has taken a place based planning approach which enables town councils to develop a tailored programme in reflection of each area. He highlighted the effectiveness of the approach in relation to Newtown and highlighted many of the successes.

Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment working at Carmarthenshire County Council described how the climate crisis has necessitated effective planning to be driven at pace and in coordination with the government. At present they are working on delivering measurable direct impact focusing on operational areas but this will evolve as they move forward. In addition to this the council is very keen to incorporate the youth voice into decision making processes and they have offered support for a recent manifesto by primary and secondary school children in the area.

Helen Vaughan-Evans, Public Sector Practitioner for Denbighshire County Council, summarised the steps taken by Denbighshire council to tackle climate change since 2019. Vaughan-Evans states that since 2019 the council declared climate change an ecological emergency, committing the authority to net carbon zero by 2030. The council has invested in carbon literacy training, adopted the DCC Climate and Ecological Change Strategy and become ecologically positive. The council is working to reduce carbon in buildings and transport and increase carbon sequestration through a tree planting scheme. 

David Powell, Director of Corporate Estates for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, went over some key climate successes for the RCT County Council. Powell highlights that the local council is committed to be carbon neutral by 2030, and recognises that climate change is the greatest challenge they are facing. Powell states that effective governance has been put in place, with the development of the climate change steering group in 2019. Powell lists a number of positive changes made by the council, such as a 75% energy reduction since 2016 with all street lights being converted to LED, and education in schools to change behaviour. Powell emphasises the importance of actions over words.

WALES CLIMATE WEEK DAILY BULLETIN – DAY 4 (25 November 2021) - Exploring the role of nature in climate resilience

Exploring the role of nature in climate resilience

Resilient seas – a vital ally in climate change

Hosted by Welsh Marine Action and Advisory Group

This session explored the importance of the Wales marine environment in combatting climate change but highlighted how it is also increasingly under threat from rising emissions.

Nathalie Kwok, Marine Conservation Society, said the ocean will have a vital role in the fight against climate change. She explained how the ocean is acidifying as it absorbs carbon dioxide. Kwok outlined how the decline in coastal and marine ecosystems reduces their capacity to store carbon, often referred to as blue carbon. Kwok stressed how coastal and marine ecosystems provide benefits that should be prioritised, such as preventing coastal erosion, which she said is vital for Wales. She highlighted restoration policies such as the 2019 Project Seagrass scheme to replant one million seagrass seeds across two hectares in Wales.

Emma McKinley, Marine Social Science Network, Cardiff University, focused on the connection between the ocean and humans. She established how we are all “ocean citizens” and need to provide more care towards the ocean. This connection, she stressed, is underpinned by the principle of “ocean literacy,” which she defined as “an understanding of the ocean's influence on you and your influence on the ocean,” which is vital for healthy coastal communities to function. She highlighted that people are concerned about the marine environment, judging by information conducted from surveys, which McKinley emphasised that it is a good starting point that needs to be built on.

Paul Buckley, Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP), introduced the primary function of the Partnership as working with a plethora of partners, covering a wide range of interests. Buckley underlined that the MCCIP honours scientific integrity and independence by ensuring that they are unbiased in their operation and the reporting of evidence. He noted that checks and balances are in place to make sure that the evidence is accessible to the public. Besides that, Buckley noted that they are currently able to track, more closely than before, the climatic changes and impacts on ecosystems affecting the coastal marine environment  

Karen Robinson, Natural Resources Wales, presented the Marine Climate Change Impacts 2020 Report Card. Robinson mentioned the evidence that she and her team had gathered in terms of physical changes to the environment, including rising sea levels and increased average sea temperature. She discussed the impacts on biodiversity and society resulting from these physical changes to the environment. Robinson outlined the actions undertaken to date and stressed the need for continued action to mitigate the adverse effects on the marine environment.

 

The power of nature-based solutions - a positive for people, climate and wildlife in Wales 

Hosted by Natural Resources Wales

Mark McKenna, Down to Earth, moderated the session that showcased nature-based solutions currently being implemented in Wales, including the National Peatland Action Programme.

Pete Jones, Natural Resources Wales, emphasised how we need to conserve and restore peatlands in order to maximise the range of ecosystem benefits we receive. The least modified peatlands in Wales today are carbon sinks because they take in more carbon than they release. Jones said Wales has taken to this issue, outlining policies within the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 that involve the “favourable management and restoration” of peatlands. He introduced the National Peatland Action Programme 2020-2025 that aims to conserve peatlands and is included in the Net Zero Wales Carbon Budget 2.

Clive Walmsley, Natural Resource Wales, showed a short video introducing a case study of a sustainable drainage system. Walmsley briefly introduced nature-based solutions and noted the prominence of the idea in discussions at the recent Glasgow Climate Change Conference. He outlined the priority actions for a Nature Positive UK in conjunction with the ‘Nature Positive 2030’ initiative. Throughout, he highlighted that nature-based solutions are widely applicable in Wales and could help build resilience to climate change and absorb carbon.

Alison Smith, Environment Change Institute, introduced a report she co-produced with Alexandre Chausson about nature-based solutions in the UK’s climate adaptation policy and the success of these solutions in addressing climate risks. Furthermore, Smith provided a number of recommendations to encourage greater use of nature-based solutions, including coherent policies applied across all sectors, standard setting, and tree planting safeguards.

 

Fields of ambition - farming at the centre of sustainable land use for the future Hosted by Farmers’ Union of Wales, Hybu Cig Cymru, National Sheep Association and National Farmers Union- NFU Cymru

This session reflected on different methods of achieving net zero while enhancing biodiversity and Welsh agriculture’s natural advantages to be a global leader in sustainable food production. 

Catherine Smith, Chair HCC, highlighted Wales’ perfect landscape for livestock, making it the most suitable place for grassland in Europe. While praising non-intensive family farming systems, she spoke about excluding the reliance on imported feed that may contribute to deforestation. Smith reported on research conducted on family farming, showing that taking land out of food production could raise global food insecurity. She called for different methods to reduce emissions while making Wales a globally-recognized sustainability leader.

Aled Jones, NFU Cymru, said agriculture contributes 12% of Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions, and significant reduction will be required in this sector. Jones advocated for the need to stick to a central policy which will safeguard the production of safe and affordable food. He stressed how rural communities must be prioritised when deciding policies and farmers must be supported. He highlighted how farmers have already contributed to sequestering carbon by planting hedgerows and emphasised that farmers have pledged to measure carbon on their farms and to ensure their farms are as efficient as possible.

Ian Rickman, FUW, underscored the role of efficient production to help achieve net zero targets. He suggested farmers should use carbon footprinting tools to analyse emissions, which would provide a benchmark to measure against. Rickman also emphasized that farmers should be treated as part of the solution and highlighted that farmers’ practical knowledge and experience of land management can make a strong contribution to protecting biodiversity.

Phil Stocker, NSA, focused on the role of the livestock industry in restoring the environment. Stocker stated the benefits of grazing and the effects of under-grazing. He also highlighted the benefits of sheep farming and said that there is a lack of appreciation of the ability of a sheep’s wool in storing carbon. Stocker questioned if offsetting carbon credits would be effective in reducing the carbon footprint of the industry or in solving the current environmental issues.

 

Small nation, big ideas - how Welsh science is working with nature to address climate change 

Hosted by the Low Carbon Energy & Environment Research Network – LCEERN

Professor Mary Gagen, Swansea University, moderated this session, which discussed the significance of conserving and restoring nature in achieving the net-zero target. It reflected on research conducted across Wales on nature-based solutions.

Professor Bridget Emmett, UKCEH Wales Research Station, underscored that we need soil and peatlands to help combat climate change as these carbon stores sequester three times the amount of carbon as vegetation. She reported that the mismanagement of soil and peatlands has increased carbon in the atmosphere by 4.2%. However, Emmett highlighted the challenges in meeting the net zero target because “we are running to stand still.” Emmett established that we need robust data to track results of policies to provide greater clarity on what needs to be done.

Dr. Prysor Williams, Bangor University, emphasised that strategically placing trees in the farmed landscape could secure multiple benefits. He said the “right trees in the right place” approach can help decrease flooding, provide shelter for livestock, and yield agricultural benefits.  On the use of multi-species leys in arable rotations, he discussed that the reintroduction of livestock could benefit soil nutrient cycling, habitat, and soil organic carbon. He discussed altered grazing regimes, where he focused on trialing different grazing systems for improving suitability in general.

Professor Isabelle Durance, Cardiff University, characterized freshwater as a complex and pressing challenge. She discussed the significance of securing water for human wellbeing while sustaining the natural capital for future generations amid uncertain social and natural changes. She underlined the need for increased quality, quantity, and resilience in freshwater service flows. Durance emphasized the importance of working together across all sectors to achieve the shared goal, giving the examples of training future generations, assessing the costs and benefits of nature-based tools, and working with nature.

Professor Iain Donnison, Aberystwyth University, underscored the challenge of using nature-based solutions whilst experiencing extreme weather events. He discouraged the use of inorganic fertilisers and the import of soil into the UK. Donnison considered the use of biomass in replacing fossil fuels. He suggested that there should be an increase in the planting of crops due to their ability to produce high yield from very low inputs. 

Dr Richard Unsworth, Swansea University, explored the wonders of seagrass in regulating the marine environment. He characterized seagrass as “the superhero” of the ocean, but said that poor water quality had removed these organisms from the oceans over time. Unsworth highlighted a project to restore the seagrass and shared the insights and lessons learned from the restoration. 

 

Working with wetlands – an important part of nature’s solution

Hosted by Welsh Water

This session discussed the significance of local habitats and environments in accordance with climate change and how they should be not only protected but also improved. 

Tony Harrington, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, discussed their carbon strategy, which aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 and a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Harrington highlighted other carbon strategy work streams in electricity consumption, fossil fuel associated with heating systems, transport, waste-water treatment, investment programs, and land to enhance biodiversity. He suggested the use of these strategic principles and collaboration with third parties was vital to securing long-term outcomes.

Vyvyan Evans, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, emphasised the importance of nature based solutions in tackling problems like carbon reduction and improving water and sewerage systems in Wales. She mentioned the contamination of waterways through industrial pollution and household commercial appliances and how rising river temperatures contributes to water nitrification. Instead of engineering options for sewage water problems, she highlighted that nature based measures will also help improve water quality and protect the environment. She noted the involvement of Dŵr Cymru in future projects to regulate, fund, and construct sustainable measures.

 

A globally responsible Wales - reducing our overseas environmental footprint

This session stressed how tackling climate change involved reducing Wales’ environmental impacts nationally and globally.

Barbara Davies Quy, Size of Wales, stressed that the global rate of deforestation is too high and that forests need to be preserved as they protect biodiversity, regulate air, prevent floods, and are important to the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples. Quy stressed how we need to tackle deforestation with a people centred approach, especially considering the Indigenous Peoples whose homes are being destroyed. She spoke about the campaign for Wales to become a deforestation free nation, because deforestation is driven by the production of commodities we buy and use every day in Wales. The campaign aims to raise awareness, work with schools and business, and provide a platform to indigenous people.

Shea Buckland-Jones, WWF Cymru, highlighted that for the first time WWF Cymru provided data on commodities we import in Wales and their overseas impact. He emphasised how much land is required to grow these commodities and that these lands are mostly situated in countries with a high risk of deforestation. Buckland-Jones mentioned recommendations by WWF Cymru to end the import of unethically produced commodities, including requiring supply chains to be free from deforestation, and end the conversion of land and social exploitation, which will heavily reduce the impact on those high risk countries. He also referred to the role of the public, ranging from financial institutions to citizens, saying they have a great impact.

Rhys Evans, Friendly Farming Network Cymru, highlighted food and farming’s contributions to Climate Change as a challenge that demands urgent attention. He talked about recommendations for supporting farmers by introducing sustainable family schemes, environmentally friendly farming ways, payments for farmers, capital grant schemes, and creating awareness in the population, which resonates with the maximum sustainable output approach. Then, he talked about consensus in Wales on a ‘Food Bill’ and its significance, covering all elements involved in feeding the population. He believed a political way and large-scale community efforts would  help achieve the shared vision.

Sarah Prince Robin, French Ministry for the Ecological Transition, talked about the impact of the French National Strategy to combat imported deforestation, adopted in 2018. She later discussed the success of this strategy becoming legalised as the Climate and Resilience law in August 2021. She discussed the zero imported deforestation guide, which recommends avoiding public procurement with a high level of deforestation risk, use of customs data to improve traceability, due of care for businesses, and zero imported deforestation goal for products bought by France. She concluded that the proposal for EU regulation will have an impact and France is more than happy to share practices with other countries.

WALES CLIMATE WEEK DAILY BULLETIN – Day 5 (26 November 2021): How individual choices impact the world climate

How individual choices impact the world’s climate

Voices from the grassroots - Communities taking action on climate change: enablers and barriers (hosted by Renew Wales)

Mike Corcoran, Co-production Network for Wales, moderated the session that focused on enablers and barriers to climate action and highlighted the role of grassroots community action in addressing the climate emergency through first-hand accounts of successful initiatives across Wales.

Neville Evans, Bryngwran Cymunedol, discussed the not-for-profit social enterprise in the form of the Iorwerth Arms community run pub in rural Anglesey. He said a new central heating system in the form of an air source heat pump system with solar panels was installed during the pandemic, which was made possible through grant support due to the pub acting as a social enterprise and having a positive impact on the local community. Evans looked forward to future improvements including environmental landscaping and an electric vehicle to enable community outreach, such as food deliveries.  

Beth Ward, Drosi Bikes, outlined efforts to address the lack of diversity in cycling and highlighted the importance of systematic changes supported by government and local authorities for local level change. She outlined their approach to demonstrate the benefits of cycling, provide low-cost electric bike hire, retrofit motors to bikes, and hold accessible workshops to help with bike maintenance. In response to the lack of paid opportunities in the green sector, Beth raised the need for further investment supported by the government following a shift in approach to business in Wales.

Teresa Walters, Tir Coed, discussed how climate change can exacerbate poverty and health-related problems. She emphasised the role of consumption, but also drew attention to the need for support for disadvantaged groups that may struggle to green their consumption, such as buying electric bicycles. She stressed the problems of implementing new projects, including the time, policies, funding and management required for success. She underlined the importance of increased awareness in communities of the natural environment and resilience.

Jeremy Wadia, EcoDewi, stressed the problems of internet connections in rural areas compared to urban ones. He underlined the importance of collaboration, including getting involved with initiatives and joining community groups. He cited funding as a challenge for starting new projects, but identified opportunities to fund smaller projects. He called on participants to take the initiative, make the first move, rally small groups and cooperate with like-minded groups.

 

Curtain raiser or show-stopper: climate emergency is a game changer for international work in the arts (hosted by Wales Arts International)

This session focused on re-thinking the arts and the central place of international work and touring, while also exploring how the arts can help contribute to climate action.

Alison Woods. NoFit State Circus, recalled her experiences with the ‘Drum Up a Circus’ collaboration. Alison discussed when NoFit State was unable to travel to Zambia in 2020, leading to a change in the focus of the company. Up until then, more than 70% of the company's income had come from international tours. Now, she noted that their approach to international work in the arts is more focused on a balanced local/global approach.

Anna Walsh, Theatre Forum Ireland (TFI), underlined how tackling climate change requires all of us to change our attitudes and behaviours at an individual and collective level. She believes art can play a significant role in moving beyond the anxieties and feelings of helplessness produced by the climate emergency to finding new ways of working and living. Emphasising the value that art plays in persuading both policy makers and funders, she said it can show a way forward through shared cultural experiences.  

Ben Twist, Creative Carbon Scotland, demonstrated the importance of culture in tackling climate change, explaining culture as collaborative and channelling different ideas to create opportunities to innovate. He said that, following COVID, culture can be used as a road map to limit the impact of climate change, highlighting the importance of the youth. He noted the old model of artists touring may need to be adapted to be more sustainable. Finally he raised the importance of culture in smaller communities and how localism and working together can help to address climate issues.

Gift Chansa, Circus Zambia, described how climate change impacts the film industry, saying there will be a move to more digital productions. He highlighted the different effects of climate change experienced in Zambia and encouraged a holistic approach to climate change that engages young people and spreads awareness through villages and smaller communities. He suggested the need to start at a personal level and take conscious decisions to reduce consumption.

 

How the creative arts can influence behavioural change

Owen Sheers, Playwright and Poet, lamented the failure of previous governments to protect future generations. He stated the different ways of addressing climate change through narrative story telling that can imagine new ways of living. He stressed the need for progress and degrowth, focusing on the wellbeing of people rather than on GDP. He called for speaking about climate issues in mainstream media to create public awareness. He also addressed the need for a hybrid form of non-fictional documentary through interviews and lived experiences to show the impact of two degrees of global warming.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, noted that the UN is echoing the aspirations of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which she hoped would have a ‘trickle-down effect’. Additionally, she stressed the importance of a positive dialogue to address food waste and poverty, drawing attention to the disproportionate effects felt by those in the Global South. Looking forward, Howe demonstrated the need to support those who are socially disadvantaged with more investment into job schemes that join the dots and open up new opportunities.

Amika George. Founder of the Free Periods Campaign and author of “Make It Happen - How To Be An Activist” related her political activism and the issue of period poverty in the UK. Amika outlined the free period campaign and used this as an example to demonstrate the opportunity that we all have as citizens to make change and to influence government and policy. She emphasised the narrative that climate issues can only be influenced by government and politicians as misguided. Climate change for Amika requires intergenerational collaboration. Amika outlined how listening to the voices of young people and their future is a vital step, emphasising the crucial role social media has played in educating and influencing discussion and action regarding climate action.  

 

Climate change: a public health emergency

This session explored the impacts of climate change on public health, and importantly, how public health interventions can help support those most vulnerable to both climate change and poor health.

Dr. Tom Porter, Consultant, Public Health, focused on the transport industry and the significant change in modes of travel, from walking to cars with resulting impacts on the environment and health, including air pollution, accidents, and wellbeing. He highlighted the effects of lockdown in Cardiff and the impact this had on reducing travel. He emphasised the creation of travel charters in Cardiff, Vale and Gwent to improve air quality, signed by more than 50 organisations.

Dr. Sarah Jones, Consultant, Environmental Health Protection, said climate change impacts on everyone and poses a threat to public health. She highlighted how climate action requires proactive changes that can protect both the environment and public health, while addressing equalities and preventing inequalities ranging from age, sex deprivation and ethnicity. She gave the example of reducing driving speed, which lowers emissions. She also introduced surveillance measures for communicable diseases as a means of protecting public health.

Kristian James, Principal Environmental Health Specialist, highlighted the universal impact of extreme weather, emphasising the effects on health of both young and old. She gave the example of respiratory issues that disproportionately impact on those from deprived areas who are already vulnerable to pollution. Further to this, she reported that flooding has been shown to have negative health impacts affecting people’s livelihoods leading to the need for multifaceted defences to extreme weather.

Aled Hughes, Betsi Cadwaladr Local Public Health Team, explained the significance of the village of Fairbourne with all 700 permanent residents facing direct effects of climate change. He highlighted that flooding is the largest risk for residents which has required significant investment in defence infrastructure. Hughes highlighted the need for a joint approach with the community to develop sustainable and realistic plans in the appropriate timescales.

Dafydd Gwynne, BCUHB Public Health Team, described the multiagency plan that was implemented to tackle the effects in Fairbourne. He particularly focused on the effects on our health and how these affect people in different ways. He stressed that these differential impacts need to be considered when tackling climate change issues. Gwynne also highlighted how the effects of climate change are felt disproportionately throughout the community based on socio-economic backgrounds and called for action plans to reflect this.

 

Climate change: the art and science of social transformations

This session considered how to activate behavioural change across multiple industries. It took a holistic approach, asking if, despite our scientific understanding of behavioural change, it is actually more of an art.

Dr Ruth Stevenson, Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology, stressed the need for carbon reductions in every sector. She suggested that behavioural change could lead to significant reductions across sectors, highlighting powering down energy use, changing diets, using public transport, buying electric vehicles, and switching to renewable energy. She pointed out that the patterns of infrastructure, such as cycle lanes and food production, play a channelling role that shapes individual behaviour. 

Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Severn Wye Energy Agency, outlined work to tackle energy transition poverty through community projects that give energy advice and efficiency measures with domestic affordable warmth programmes. Lowthe-Thomas highlighted the importance of having an effective heating system not just in the context of reducing emissions but in tackling fuel poverty and addressing health concerns. She demonstrated the importance of working in collaboration with housing associations and health care organisations to educate people on energy efficiency and raising job awareness.

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, University of Bath, stated that mitigation involves a range of roles including citizens, parents, and communities. She mentioned the factors that drive behaviour change such as culture and design interventions. She highlighted downstream issues that mainly focus on individual influences on attitudes and behaviour, and the upstream issues, including economic measures, and available goods and services. She underlined the need for multiple interventions and the right time, saying that policies can disrupt habits or reactions to climate change. 

Dr Clive Walmsley, Natural Resources Wales, outlined how Natural Resources Wales maintains various natural resources ranging from land, marine protected areas, forestry, and landscapes. He stressed the action since 2019 has mainly focused on technological solutions, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy. In terms of organisational behavioural change, he outlined an organisational perspective that focused on reducing carbon footprints and included eco-driving and improving fuel efficiency. He insisted on collective participation and training programmes for sustainable development to strategically combat climate change.