Climate Change Meets COVID-19

Climate Change Meets COVID-19

Aug 10, 2020 | Our Events

Speaker Meeting 23rd July at 06.30pm

As the number of Covid 19 infections reduces to a more manageable level and the death rate falls, we are beginning the difficult transition out of lockdown, with governments turning their attention to how they stimulate economic recovery.

The pandemic-induced financial decisions made over the coming months will shape the global economy for the next decade, but at a time when greenhouse gas emissions also need to be halved if we are to stand any chance of preventing the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

Governments will not have the resources to direct capital at the scale required for years to come, so we need a coherent response now to both crises.

Is there a danger that they look for quick wins for a small number of stakeholders, rushing ahead with ‘shovel ready’ projects and poorly targeted fiscal measures?

Would it be better to take stock and focus on ‘no regret’ investments that create jobs, while being consistent with our longer-term sustainable development goals?

Are there priority areas where can we quickly create the supply chains and train the skilled workers needed to support delivery?

Which strategic investments should be progressing to ensure we can embrace the low carbon technologies of tomorrow while living in a post-Covid world?

What does this mean for the decisions that need to be made at a global level at COP 26 in Glasgow next year?

About the Speaker

John McElroy has 40 years’ experience working in the energy industry. After graduating with a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Edinburgh University, he joined the Central Electricity Research Laboratories as a research scientist, working on acid rain, tropospheric ozone and urban air quality, publishing around 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Following privatisation of the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1990, he headed up the environmental technologies unit in National Power. In 2002, John joined RWE as head of environmental and asset strategy, before coming Director of Policy & Public Affairs in 2009. His leadership on key UK and EU energy policy issues as they impacted on electricity generation and energy retail, influenced legislation and regulation with the UK government and the European Commission. John has been chairman of the executive board of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a board member of the Association of Electricity Producers and chaired the Environment Committee of Energy UK (2005-2017). For many years he was the UK representative on the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee of Eurelectric, the electricity industry body in Brussels, eventually becoming vice-chairman and chairing their working group on carbon markets and emissions trading.

Following retirement, he was invited to be a member of the Advisory Board of the UK Energy Research Centre. He is involved in local community charity work in Cheltenham with other interests including playing the organ and piano, singing in a Church Choir, swimming, cycling and walking.