Climate change: policy decisions, business implications

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Climate Change: High on the agenda for Imperial Business Partners (IBP)

Picture this: smart fridges that modify their pattern of electricity use to help balance out supply. This was one of several Imperial research activities that captured the attention of IBP members at a workshop in February.

The important climate change agreement achieved in Paris in December led to IBP and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment convening a workshop to build more bridges between business questions and ongoing research in the College.

Forward thinking business leaders are already switched on to the importance of climate change, and many brought significant questions to the table. Their interest ranged from the science behind the changing climate, the impacts of climate change on water through to the role of the energy sector and the non-energy sector and the importance of individual technologies in averting the worst effects of climate change.

Academics from Imperial College London shared a selection of research, including:

  • The economics behind decision-making in businesses and links to climate change mitigation, and policies such as the EU Emissions trading system
  • Pathways to a low-carbon world, with a focus on decarbonising the energy sector
  • Smart energy grids, the flexibility that they offer and the effect on future costs
  • The potential of smart appliances
  • The challenge of the shift in electricity infrastructure required to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources
  • The potential for Carbon and Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies to remove carbon dioxide from emissions and the atmosphere

The discussion was lively. Participants enjoyed exploring the role of different new technologies, with mutual interests in energy storage, and the potential for the gas network to play a part in the storage story. Through the discussions, academics heard about the multitude of factors that play into business considerations of climate change. Businesses operating in a wide range of countries and environments need to pursue their climate change goals in tandem with the need for security, development and water security.

IBP issued a briefing paper, summarizing academically grounded insights on the impact of the conference and its relevance for businesses. A workshop was delivered to enable a direct connection with Imperial experts in this theme. The public debate saw a panel of experts, led by Sir David King, discussing the opportunities and challenges of the latest climate change negotiations. An IBP dinner then followed, under Chatham House rules.

Event Programme

15:30–17:30 • Boardroom, Faculty building

IBP only workshop

17:45–19:00 • LT G34, Sir Alexander Fleming building

Public panel debate What next after Paris?

Sir David King – FCO Climate Change Envoy

Josue Tanaka – MD, Operational Strategy and Planning, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, EBRD

Jeff Seabright – Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever

Neil Thorns, Chair, The Climate coalition

19:00–21:30 • 170 Queen’s Gate

IBP only Executive Insight dinner

Chair: Professor Richard Green, Imperial College Business School


In collaboration with:
Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Imperial Business School.