Ahead of the COP26 environment summit in Glasgow, a panel of expert speakers from across the world, have met in Birmingham to show how tackling climate change can not only protect the planet but also create new jobs and skills opportunities for local people.
‘Thriving Through a Green Industrial Revolution’ featured a wide range of innovative businesses, economic specialists, and a representative of UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
Organised by the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC), the conference was told how the West Midlands had established itself as the ‘home of the green industrial revolution’.
Ed Cox spoke about the actions we all can take to incentivise green transition.
Delegates heard how the region has a proud industrial heritage and its strengths in transport manufacturing, energy systems, battery technology and materials were world-leading. Its low-carbon businesses were also the fastest growing sector in the regional economy, and the transition to net zero carbon was already creating ‘tremendous’ opportunities with new jobs and skills for local people.
As well as an opportunity to showcase the region to an international audience, the conference also provided global perspectives on industrial solutions to tackle climate change and the wider worldwide economic benefits.
Speakers included Matthew Rhodes, chair of Energy Capital; Natalie Dowsett, head of business development at Ox (an innovating business in the automotive sector) and Ian Thomson, director of Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business.
Ed Cox, the WMCA’s director for inclusive growth & public sector reform, spoke about the actions that local governments, consumers and employees can all take to incentivise green transition.
“It’s always great to show the industrial strengths of the West Midlands, and the solutions that are being developed here – which will not only help us hit our 2041 net zero target, but also the UK’s goal of 2050,” he said.
“It’s also hugely important to understand our wider role as a region and our place internationally as we tackle climate change together and recover economically from the pandemic.
“The race to zero represents a tremendous economic opportunity and is capable of creating 90,000 job opportunities for local people over the next two decades, which will also contribute strongly to the wider levelling-up of the UK economy.”
The hybrid event was organised by the University of Birmingham-led Forum for Global Challenges and was part of a series of events being held in the run-up to the Forum for Global Challenges conference in May 2022 which will continue the discussion on how the green economy and green industrial revolution can be an effective response to climate change whilst also creating jobs and opportunities.
Professor Fiona Nunan, programme lead of the Forum for Global Challenges, said: “Decarbonising industry is a critical part of the global response to climate change. Identifying technologies and policies that can help make that happen is essential.
“The discussion really brought out how important it is that there is a revolution – that we rethink business models and ways of doing things. But the panel also stressed that this revolution must create meaningful opportunities to all, particularly for people living in low-income countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.”
A number of events are being planned across the region in the run-up to, and during, the COP26 Climate Change Conference, which starts in Glasgow on October 31. Further details are available at WMCA’s COP26 website www.wmca.org.uk/cop26.
The WMCA will also hold its own COP26 Regional Roadshow to further demonstrate its contribution to securing a net-zero future. The event will take place at Springfield Campus, University of Wolverhampton on Thursday 11th November. Tickets are available at COP26 - Regional Roadshow West Midlands Tickets, Thu 11 Nov 2021 at 08:30 | Eventbrite.