6:30pm - 8pm
Wednesday 25 March 2020

POSTPONED - The path to net zero emissions in the UK



Rik Medlik Building
University of Surrey
  • Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Dame Julia King


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the latest advice from the government relating to large gatherings, the University of Surrey has taken the decision to postpone all public events.

Those who have registered for this event will be contacted directly regarding ticket refunds. Please bear with us as this may take up to 14 working days to process. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused. We will keep in touch with you to let you know when this event is rescheduled. We will post updates on the events website and social media platforms.


On the 2 May 2019 the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommended to Parliament that achieving net zero emissions by 2050 would be an appropriate and achievable UK contribution to halting global warming and meeting the ambitions signed up to in the Paris Agreement.

On 27 June 2019 the UK Climate Change Act was amended by Statutory Instrument, changing the 2050 target from an 80 per cent reduction in emissions to 100 per cent.

This was the fastest implementation of a recommendation by the CCC in its 10 year lifetime.  But changing the legislation is the easy part. Introducing the policies, regulations, support mechanisms and changes in behaviour that will be needed to deliver the net zero target will be much harder.

The lecture will cover the rationale for both the level of and the timescale for the target, the calculation of costs and the challenges to delivery in the next 30 years. These includes: Replacing gas in heating; doubling the size of our electricity system; building a hydrogen energy industry the size of the current electricity system from a zero base; changing how we drive; transforming farming; ensuring a ‘just transition’. 

The challenge facing us is delivering this scale of change at pace, with the world watching, as we prepare to host COP 26 in Glasgow in November.

The Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE FREng FRS, Julia King

Baroness Brown is an engineer. An academic career at Cambridge University, including 7 years as the first Fellowship of Engineering Senior Research Fellow, led to senior business and engineering roles at Rolls-Royce plc. Returning to academia as Principal of Engineering at Imperial College, she served as Vice-Chancellor of Aston University from 2006 - 2016.

Her current interests include climate change adaptation and mitigation and the low carbon economy. She serves as: Vice Chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), where she leads on transport issues, and Chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the CCC; Chair of the Carbon Trust; non-executive director of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; Council member of Innovate UK.  She led the King Review for the Treasury on decarbonising transport (2008), was the Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Energy for 10 years, and is the Sector Champion for the Offshore Wind Sector Deal as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

She is passionate about education and engineering: she was a member of the Browne Review on university funding and Lord Stern’s review of the Research Excellence Framework. She chairs STEM Learning Ltd., the leading provider of science teacher continuing professional development, and the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society, and was awarded DBE for services to higher education and technology.  In 2015 she was elevated to the Peerage as The Baroness Brown of Cambridge.  She sits as a crossbench Peer, and is a member of the House of Lords European Union Select Committee. 

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Julia King
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