Stories

Ideas, insights and proposals from the Cambridge Zero network on advancing a zero-carbon world.
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Africa COP27
While this year’s conference did not set a new record, it was definitely one of the lengthiest COPs in the UNFCCC’s history – both literally and figuratively speaking. Almost one week since the close of COP27 last Sunday, Freddie looks back at what gave the most hope and where this COP fell short.
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Research Symposia
From satellite mapping of the rainforest to plastics in food packaging, from energy-intensive ICT to upskilling micro-entrepreneurs in emerging markets: find out more about the new developments in research presented at Cambridge Zero's Symposium on Economic & Societal Change which took place at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.
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Minister Paeniu for Tuvalu
Here, days 11+1 and 2, as COP extends to Sunday morning for the final negotiation wrap-up and closing plenary. With some successes in Loss and Damange funding, there is still lacking in mitigation and fossil fuel phase-out.
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A standing ovation for 10-year-old Nakeeyat Dramani, CVFs Thematic Ambassador for Youth
Today is the final 'official' day of COP27, although negotiations will likely last through at least Saturday if not Sunday. Freddie shares with us a moving 'plea for heroes' at the informal stocktakings today as well as an update on the state of negotiations in fossil fuels and loss and damage.
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Building Contra Costa Centre, CA, USA - Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash
The building sector is one of the most important and challenging to decarbonise because it involves a complex overlap of people, places and practices that creates a barrier to designing just emission reduction policies. In a new study led by Cambridge Zero Fellow Ramit Debnath, researchers found that social media engagement with climate policy events is vital to reducing building emissions and ensuring environmental justice.
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Press conference by 350.org on intergenerational inputs - header
It’s Thursday of Week 2 here at COP27, which means it’s crunch time for everyone - not only for parties, but also for civil society actors whose voices are getting louder and louder as more and more draft cover decision text emerges. Many went to the press conference rooms today to, once again, make publicly clear why we need an L&D funding mechanism here and now.
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Airplane in flight - Photo by Emanu on Unsplash
In the two weeks of COP27, people across the world have flown to Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss action on climate change. Aviation is a crucial way to bring us together to tackle this challenge, but at the same time it is a major contributor to the problem. Flight must become climate neutral, and the Aviation Impact Accelerator is at the forefront of solving this challenge. Here we demonstrate how our Journey Impact Simulator (JIS) is used to explore different options.
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Unlocking Radical Collaboration to Deliver on Nature-Positive and Net Zero Goals
Today the high-level segment statements concluded amidst an atmosphere of rising tensions and urgency in the negotiation rooms. The focus remains on those many countries who cannot wait any longer, living with ever-present dangers from climate change. Some progress is being made, as parties reached an agreement on the institutional arrangements to operationalise the Santiago Network.
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Dear World Leaders videos
Humanity crossed the historic milestone today of the 8 billionth human being born - with roughly a decade since the 7 billionth birth. With our growing population comes an ever-growing responsibility: how do we preserve our planet for the sake of itself and for the sake of our collective future well-being?
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An all-female panel on how to empower women in Africa
Week 2 of COP27 begins, with much work to be done still. Today Freddie highlights events from the themes of Water and Gender, including tropical glacier loss, mass displacement from climate change, and empowering African women and girls.
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Stockholm +50 event
Today Freddie provides a look back at the first week of COP27, with some of the ups and downs the week has brought. COP has been described as an enabling space - for engaged and passionate people across professions and backgrounds to connect and talk. But it also needs to deliver on the speed and urgency of solutions and action needed, so we will see how week 2 pulls these commitments together.
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IPCC report quote
The importance of Indigenous voices at COPs, the desperate situation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the Marshall Islands, and challenges with assessing impacts on vulnerable regions - Freddie presents some of her highlights from Thursday and Friday.
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ActNowFilm2 - screening and panel
Today, the premiere screening of a short film produced by Cambridge Zero and IPR at University of Bath showing the lived experiences of young people, their hopes and fears in the face of climate change, and the associated losses and damages. ActNowFilm2 is intended to visualise how the fight against climate change cuts across ages and generation; how it unites us in our common need to take action.
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The importance of Locally Determined Contributions
At COP26 in Glasgow, national governments committed to revisit their Nationally Determined Contributions the following year. With COP27 underway, Emily Farnworth, Director of the Centre for Climate Engagement (CCE) at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, sets out the opportunity for locally determined climate action to support the national agenda.
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The evidence is clear: the time for action is now
Back for another day, Freddie sits in on IPCC Working Group events and visits the LGMA Multi-level Action Pavilion for 'A year in action: Loss and Damage from COP26 to now' featuring First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon; Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD); and Frances Way, Executive Director of the UN High-Level Champions.
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Stronger Climate Actions Together
Freddie highlights the opening ceremony featuring the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Strong support is shown for Loss & Damage on the agenda, and businesses are recognising the urgent need for change.
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COP27 venue
Professor Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero, explains what she believes COP27 needs to achieve in this article and video.
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COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh
Cambridge PhD Candidate in Geography, Friederike (“Freddie”) Hartz, looks ahead to the coming two weeks of COP27 and her live reporting. We invite you to attend the Cambridge Zero event 'COP27 Preview: Where we are and where we need to go with international climate policy' on Monday, 7th November at 18:00 BST at the Selwyn College Auditorium, Cambridge, and online where Freddie will join in live from Egypt.
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Cambridge Green Week
The Cambridge Green Week in Easter Term 2022 marked one of the first opportunities for students to meet in person and push forwards on climate engagement and action after the Covid-19 pandemic. The week was led, organised and hosted by the elected student Green Officers from across the Cambridge Colleges.
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Engage for Change Applications Open
Engage for Change is a twelve-week programme for students at the University of Cambridge who want to learn to make change happen, sponsored by Cambridge Zero and the Sustainability Team at the University of Cambridge. Applications for the first cohort will close on 18th October 2022.
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Blue background with yellow text reading "Learn, Act, Lead" and white text reading "climate and sustainability opportunities at the University of Cambridge
As a current student at the University of Cambridge you have lots of opportunities to learn about and get involved in climate change and sustainability work. Listed below are a range of programmes, opportunities and events available in Michaelmas Term 2022, run by Cambridge Zero and the Sustainability Team. Read on to find out how you can learn more about climate change, take action for positive change and lead sustainability initiatives at the University. This list is non-exhaustive and only summarises the programmes run by these two groups and by College Green Officers, who we collaborate with. There are plenty of other ways to get involved too!
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10 Principles for Policy Making in the Energy Transition
Ten Principles for Policymaking in The Energy Transition, a pioneering new report co-authored by energy policy experts from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, sets out how a different approach to policy can empower governments to accelerate innovation, reduce costs and de-risk markets. The report finds that government investment and regulation is key to rapidly bringing down the cost of clean technologies. New principles for policymaking can unlock faster and cheaper technology growth, from green hydrogen to net zero steel, to cut emissions and boost economies.
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Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash
The first major study of driving forces behind government funding of energy RD&D – and the public institutions generating it – over the 21st century shows that competition created by China’s rise as a technology superpower led to significant increases in clean energy investment. The study led by University of Cambridge and University of California, Berkeley, and published in the journal Nature Energy, also found that cooperation commitments at a UN climate conference were not just empty words, and did boost 'cleantech' innovation, albeit a long way off levels required to hit net zero or prevent two-degree warming.
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Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
Cambridge Zero is pleased to introduce the Student Societies Climate Fund: a funding call for all student societies and JCR/MCRs at the University of Cambridge to apply for a share of £1000, available termly, to fund climate-related events.

Learn more about the fund details and how to apply here.