COP27 venue

Cambridge at COP: Focus on action and speeding up implementation

While negotiators scrambled for a last-minute deal on a new fund for loss and damage to support countries most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change, Cambridge researchers continued to push for action on cutting emissions.

Cambridge Zero Director Professor Emily Shuckburgh told Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy as the conference opened that “We’ve left it to the last minute of the last minute” and urged all countries to speed up implementation of the kinds of solutions that are available and being created at Cambridge and other global research universities across the planet. 

Read the full coverage of Cambridge at COP27 here.

As COP27 closed well after its scheduled finish, Cambridge produced a video of reaction from our experts, now including Cambridge Zero's new Deputy Director Dr Simon Buckle and the co-Director of the Centre for Climate Engagement Emily Farnworth.

Many of the Cambridge representatives provided statements to the Science Media Centre as well:

The below quotes were issued before the final deal was struck:

Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero, said:

“As severe flood warnings are once again being issued across the UK due to heavy rainfall, and as devastating floods in Pakistan have left 10 million children in need of immediate lifesaving support, the need for urgent climate action has never been clearer. Unless we put a drastic brake on greenhouse gas emissions, the human and economic impacts of climate change will inexorably rise, taking an especially large toll on the world’s poorest societies.”

“We have to do better. And this COP showed that most of the world’s governments want to. With the economics of clean energy advancing year-by-year and the impacts of dirty energy becoming clearer and clearer, those governments that aren’t yet on board are undeniably failing their populations. Science shows there is no time to lose in peaking and lowering global emissions, energy trends show that’s in reach, and solutions across all sectors of the global economy are poised to be deployed. It will take radical collaborations between academia, business, finance, governments and civil society, but it can be done – so let’s just do it.”

Prof Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge:

“The discussions ended up focusing, as they often do, on who will pay for damage and transition costs. Although the desire for natural justice is understandable, it’s important for low income countries to appreciate that there will be big savings from switching to renewable energy now the costs of these technologies have fallen so much. And investment in clean generation projects can attract private finance. There is no need to halt progress on future transition because of the disagreement over who should pay the bill for the past.”

Dr Alison Ming, Researcher in Atmospheric Dynamics at the University of Cambridge, said: 

“The climate science insights reports compiled by leading scientists and presented at COP27 make it clear that endless adaptation to climate change is not possible. Science provides the evidence and data for climate change. Moreover, in recent years, our ability to attribute extreme events to human driven increases in carbon dioxide concentrations has improved significantly.” 

“The growing body of research shows that the consequences of climate change such as rising sea levels and extreme heat events are already affecting a large number of communities worldwide and will continue to do so unless we take drastic action. The latest UNEP Emissions Gap Report shows that policies currently in place put us on track for 2.8°C of warming by the end of the century.” 

“Science also gives us the tools and understanding to stop climate change. We need to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels. The numerous initiatives launched at COP27 show that countries are willing to work together on solutions. The more we delay decarbonisation, the more carbon dioxide we will add to our atmosphere and the worse the effects will be.”

Here is a selection of COP27 coverage featuring Cambridge experts: