Leaders from councils, businesses, utilities, unions and environmental groups from across Yorkshire and Humber are coming together to tackle the climate crisis head on through a major new partnership.
The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, which is set to launch formally in March, will provide an independent voice to help support and track the delivery of ambitious climate actions across the region. The Commission’s focus will be on reducing carbon emissions as quickly as possible, and ensuring people in Yorkshire are prepared to cope with the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves and sea level rise.
The work of the Commission will be based on the principles of inclusivity and a ‘just transition’ to help to ensure that no-one and no-where is left behind as we respond to climate change. It will also ensure that climate actions are sustainable and bring benefits to nature and local wildlife.
The Commission’s creation has the support of the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board and the 22 councils across Yorkshire and the Humber. Other key partners include the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Northern Powergrid, Northern Gas Networks, the Trades Union Congress, Yorkshire Universities and the University of Leeds.
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, and Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, are co-chairs of the Yorkshire and Humber Leaders Board. They said: “It gives us great pleasure to announce the creation of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, an independent body that will help raise our region’s collective ambition in tackling climate change.
“The Commission will encourage even greater investment in low carbon, climate resilient developments that create benefits for everyone, including a just transition for workers. It will also give Yorkshire and the Humber a louder, clearer and unified voice with which to call for the changes and support that we need to see at the national level so that we can achieve net-zero as swiftly as possible.”
Oliver Harmer, Area Director at the Environment Agency, said: “We are excited to be part of this new Commission, particularly as the country prepares to host COP26 this November, the most important international climate summit since the Paris Agreement was made. We are looking forward to developing a bold new regional climate action plan that is as ambitious and collaborative as the challenge demands. “The Environment Agency, along with many other partners in the region, have set ourselves the challenge of becoming net zero by 2030. The Commission provides a great opportunity to increase the reach, scale and impact of our ongoing work with communities, local authorities and partners to adapt and become more resilient to all the impacts of climate change. Together we will inspire our region to not just survive, but prosper through the inevitable challenges climate change will bring.”
Gordon Rogers, Head of Sustainability at Yorkshire Water, said: “Many parts of our region have experienced first-hand the impact that extreme weather can have in recent years. These events will only become more common unless we take urgent action to protect our communities and do our bit to prevent the emergency that is
climate change. By bringing together experts from across the public, private and third sectors, this Commission will help to provide advice, support and opportunities forbecoming a net-zero and climate resilient region.”
The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, which is set to be the biggest regional commission of its kind in the UK, is now on a recruitment drive, inviting applications for a number of Commissioners from across a range of sectors. All positions are voluntary and will last three years.
Applications are sought from leaders in key sectors such as housing and transport and key groups including community and environment groups who would like to become Commissioners, ahead of its formal launch on 17 March. Commissioners are not paid and would be asked to commit up to 10 days a year to the role to help to
shape and guide climate actions across the region. To find out more about applying to join the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission visit their website www.yorksandhumberclimate.org.uk.
You can also follow the Commission on Twitter @YHClimateCom.
The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission has been formed as part of the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN), an ESRC-funded research network that builds upon the model of the Leeds Climate Commission, which launched in 2017. Since 2019, PCAN has supported the development of climate commissions around the UK, including in Edinburgh, Belfast, Surrey, Essex, Croydon, Lincoln, Doncaster, York and Kirklees.
Climate commissions are partnerships bringing together people from the public, private and third sectors to work collaboratively with local authorities to help drive climate action. The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission are hosting an online launch event from 6.30 – 8.30pm on Wednesday 17th March. Register here.