We sent 7 Grantham Scholars to COP26 as official observers for the University of Sheffield. Before they went, we spoke to them about their hopes and fears for this pivotal event.
From engineering, bioscience, water, and energy, these 7 Grantham Scholars represent the diversity of work needed for a sustainable future. In these interviews, they explain what they think is good – and bad – about COP, including who is missing from the talks. And they tell us the people they’re excited to hear from, such as policy-makers who could make real change. You can read the full interviews by following the links below. Keep reading to find out about the Grantham Centre at COP26 and previous COPs.
From the School of Biosciences, Mary’s research looks at how we can grow legumes with less nitrogen. In her interview Mary explains how her work links to climate change and the future of food. And she stresses the need for farmers from around the world to be represented at COP26.
Read: COP26 observer interview: Mary Eliza.
You can keep up to date with Mary at COP26 on Twitter.
Charles’s work is on mitigating the impact of buildings on the environment. He’s from the from the Department of Civil Engineering and Urban Flows Observatory. In his interview, Charles stresses the need for regulation and policy for the construction industry. Plus Charles says we should train engineers to reuse old buildings rather than design new ones.
Read: COP26 observer interview: Charles Gillott.
Follow Charles on Twitter.
Maria is from the School of Biosciences, where she researches how to make rubber production more sustainable. Asked who she’s most looking forward to hearing from, Maria says: ‘Whoever is going to speak truth to power and push for real action.’
Read: COP26 observer interview: Maria Wang Mei Hua.
Manasi is from the Department of Chemistry. Her research looks at advanced water treatment techniques for pollution. Her hopes for COP26 are that everyone going shares the sustainability message with their family and friends. That way, ‘A climate-vigilant society could sustainability-check products and act as a driving force for a climate-resilient economy.’
Read: COP26 observer interview: Manasi Mulay.
Follow Manasi on Twitter to get her updates from COP26.
Reena is from the School of Architecture researching sustainable energy for all. And Suma Mani is at the School of Biosciences. Her research is on woodland creation in the Peak District. Both Reena and Suma say that COP26 is a chance to see powerful people make the policy that will determine our future.
Read: COP26 observer interview: Reena Sayani & Suma Mani.
Follow Reena on Twitter.
David is from the School of Biosciences where he is studying ways to increase resistance in rice to a damaging parasitic weed. For David, it’s important to be hopeful that meaningful change can happen at COP26.
Read: COP26 observer interview: David Rapley.
Our people are not just observers at COP, some of them have been working behind the scenes to influence what happens there. Others are going along as panellists at specialist events.
Grantham Scholar Marta Crispo is a student commissioner with the EAUC climate commission who have created a student statement to present at COY (the official route for youth representation at COP26). The statement includes 9 demands to address sustainability issues within the education sector. If you want to read the full statement, then look here: COY16 Student Statement.
Grantham Scholar Ella Hubbard explains why we must repoliticise the climate crisis and look beyond the main at COP26 for hope. Read: COP26: We must look beyond the conference floor.
Our Co-Director Rachael Rothman is a member of the COP26 University Network, a group of universities aiming to influence the key topics of COP26. They recently created guidance to support universities and colleges to develop offsetting policies as part of their net-zero strategies. You can read more here: Our Co-Director contributes to COP26 Universities Network briefing.
Our Director Tony Ryan will be on the panel of a Science and Innovation session with Reckitt. The theme for the session is Innovating to tackle climate change – how science can deliver a decarbonised society.
Maria supervises some of our Grantham Scholars. She will at the COP26 Green Zone with the UKRI decarbonization exhibition as an expert on climate change mitigation on November 1st and 2nd. Keep up to date with Maria on Twitter.
The Grantham Centre is delighted to be sending people to COP26 in Glasgow. But we’ve been sending official observers to COP for years. If you want find out more about this, then follow the links below.
7 reasons why COP25 was a positive experience for a social scientist
A day at COP: what’s it like to be at the biggest climate conference in the world?
Grantham Scholars Go To COP 24
COP 22: Grantham Scholars report back
Impressions from COP22: Lessons from Marrakech
COP22: Was this the ‘COP of action’?
Impressions from COP22: Time is of the essence
Overcoming the tragedy of the commons – a Grantham Scholar’s perspective on COP21
Packed COP21 debate on how to develop a climate-smart food system
Soil loss: an unfolding global disaster – Grantham Centre briefing note
If you want to follow the action as it happens on Twitter, then you can follow this Twitter group of all TUoS people going.
And there’s more information about TUoS at COP26 at Sheffield at COP26.