Professor Nick Eyre, of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, has been appointed as Oxford City Council’s first scientific adviser. The professor of energy and climate policy will support the Council and the city, as it continues to tackle the climate emergency and moves towards net-zero.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, says, ‘I am delighted to welcome Professor Nick Eyre to his role as Oxford City Council’s Chief Scientist. Climate science has a vital role to play at the heart of the Council’s policy making and Professor Eyre is a world-leading scientist who will provide the best advice. As Chief Scientist, Professor Eyre will strengthen this Council’s evidence-based decision-making by bringing the scientific community and independent advice into our democratically elected council.’
Professor Eyre (left) says, ‘I am delighted to have been asked by the City Council to act as its scientific adviser on climate change. The transition to making Oxford a zero carbon city will be a challenge, but it is achievable, and the work to do it has already begun. I look forward to ensuring that the Council has access to best advice from the city’s two universities as it continues sets out on this path.’
Oxford City Council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and, in autumn 2019, held the Oxford Citizens Assembly on Climate Change – making it the first city in the UK to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on the issue. Almost one year from the Assembly, and despite the challenges from the pandemic, the Council is continuing to take important steps to tackle the climate emergency across the city. Key to this is Professor Eyre’s appointment.
Cllr Hayes continues, ‘Having worked with our new Chief Scientist on the Oxford Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change, and other business, I have seen first-hand his love for Oxford and his deep commitment to ensuring the city uses science effectively. I look forward to the City Council receiving Professor Eyre’s forthright, independent, expert advice.’
In this voluntary role, long-term Oxford resident Professor Eyre will offer the Council independent advice relating to its goal of tackling the climate emergency. In particular, he will help inform the Council’s future sustainability strategy to meet its net-zero targets. His role will also include contributions, when required, to the Council’s Scrutiny and Cabinet committees.
Professor Eyre is a senior research fellow in energy at the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and leads the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions - the main UK university research programme on energy use. He is also a co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy.
His focus is on energy policy, in particular looking at energy demand, energy efficiency and the transition to low carbon energy systems. Professor Eyre was one of the UK's first researchers on mitigation of carbon emissions, and was co-author of a presentation to the Cabinet on this issue in 1989. In 1997, he wrote the first published study on how the Government's 20% carbon emission reduction target might be delivered. He has since advised Government ministers and Parliamentary inquiries.
The initial appointment will be for 18 months.