As the UK gears up to host COP26, Oxford's researchers will be right at the heart of that international conversation and their work will be crucial in shaping global policy decisions, with the goal of a more sustainable society and a cleaner, greener future for everyone.

Tune in to our COP Conversations series to watch our academics present on a huge variety of themes, from extreme weather patterns to ecosystems, and from why we need to get to Net Zero, to what countries need to agree to this November. Then send in your questions for our researchers to answer, live!

What are 'Nature-based Solutions' to climate change?

Thursday 7 October 2021, 12:45-1:15pm
Watch the talk:
Nathalie Seddon

Nature-based solutions involve working with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human well-being and biodiversity. Specifically they are actions that work towards the protection, restoration or management of natural and semi-natural ecosystems; the sustainable management of aquatic systems and working lands such as croplands or timberlands; or the creation of novel ecosystems in and around cities.

With us to talk through the role nature-based solutions can play in tackling climate change, is Nathalie Seddon, Professor of Biodiversity and Director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative.

What do we need from COP26?

Thursday 14 October 2021, 12:45-1:15pm
Watch the talk:
Tom Hale

In 1992 countries promised in international law to prevent dangerous changes in the Earth’s climate. Since 1995 almost every country on earth has been coming together for COPs – or Conferences of the Parties – global climate summits designed meet that promise. This year will be the 26th annual summit, and it’s taking place in Glasgow with the UK as President. As the first major COP since the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, COP26 holds a unique urgency. What do countries (and other actors like cities or businesses) need to do? Will they step up?

With us to talk through how COP26 might, and perhaps should work, is Dr Thomas Hale, Associate Professor in Global Public Policy at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

Why Net Zero (and what is it)?

Thursday 21 October 2021, 12:45-1:15pm
Watch the talk: 
Sam Fankhauser

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere. The term is important because – for CO2 at least – this is the state at which global warming stops. Global warming is proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions, which means that the planet will keep heating for as long as global emissions remain more than zero. This implies that climate damages, caused by global heating, will continue escalating for as long as emissions continue.  

But all is not lost! Oxford has several researchers working in this area, and one of our key voices is our speaker, Sam Fankhauser, Professor of Climate Change Economics and Policy at the Smith School and Research Director of Oxford Net Zero.

Can we remove carbon from the atmosphere?

Thursday 28 October 2021, 12:45-1:15pm
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Ros Rickaby

Many of our leading researchers have noted that alongside the need for much faster emissions reductions, we need to start pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. That greenhouse gas removal is essential to achieve net zero carbon emissions, stabilise the climate, and perhaps even to help us orient towards future green jobs and industries. But first, it's important to understand the natural cycle of carbon - how it flows across the globe - how nature already recycles carbon atoms. And then, what that might teach us about how humans could intervene to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. 

Here to guide us through that is Ros Rickaby, Chair of Geology in Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences.

How is climate changing our weather?

Thursday 4 November 2021, 12:45-1:15pm
Watch the talk:
Nick Leach

Whenever an extreme weather event occurs, the media, public and policymakers alike often ask - to what extent was this influenced by climate change? For a few years now the scientific community has been able to answer that question for relatively simple extremes: hot and cold extremes, extreme precipitation and drought, and many projects like the World Weather Attribution initiative based at Oxford, are helping to provide robust assessments on the role of climate change in the aftermath of the event.  

But how do we actually work this out, and what do we know about the impact now, and potentially impacts in the future? 

Here to tell us more is Nick Leach, a PhD student at Oxford studying the attribution of extreme weather events.