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Press release

  • 1 November 2006

Your climate needs you!

Ways in which we can slow down global warming with changes to our everyday lives will be debated at a University of Sussex conference.

Leading academics in science and international politics will be among the speakers at Climate Change, The Environment and YOU, at the Sussex Institute at the University on Saturday 18th November. The event is part of the Open Lectures series, organised by the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE).

Technology that enables households and small businesses to generate electricity and reduce their carbon footprint will be among the topics raised. Small-scale wind and solar panels and combined-heat-and-power boilers, also known as micro-generation technology, will be discussed by Dr Jim Watson from the Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU) based at Falmer. Dr Watson led a recent study by the Sussex Energy Group into micro-generation technology. The study in collaboration with the University of Southampton and Imperial College London found huge obstacles in the delivery of schemes despite growing awareness about climate change.

Dr Jim Watson says: "Current policies to support micro-generation are welcome but they are piecemeal and hesitant. Public interest in micro-generation presents an ideal opportunity for more fundamental changes to energy policy that take individual actions seriously. Action across the board by government agencies such as the Treasury and the energy regulator Ofgem would send a powerful signal that matches the political rhetoric."

Professor Michael Boulter from the Natural History Museum will discuss the history of climate change, while Professor Kate Soper from the London Metropolitan University, will look at climate change and the consumer and the effects of shopping trends on the eco system. The role of climate change in developing countries will be covered by Dr Esteve Corbera from the University of East Anglia.

The University's climate conference follows a stark warning on the economic costs and damage to the planet that could result from global warming. The 700-page Stern review released this week by leading economist Sir Nicholas Stern predicts global warming could shrink the global economy by up to 20 per cent, displace up to 100 million people and wipe out 40 per cent of the animal species. In a separate study last month, Britons topped a poll of Europe's energy wasters. People admitted to 32 energy-wasting actions a week on average, more than twice as many as the most efficient citizens, the Germans, according to he study by the Energy Saving Trust.

Sarah McKenzie, Convenor of Science at CCE, says: "We have put together a programme that deals with some of the science behind climate change and then explores what the individual can do. It is apparent that people can become overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and we wanted to demonstrate that the individual can make a positive contribution. This is not just by changing to energy saving light bulbs, but by exercising consumer choice in a wide range of markets."

The CCE at the University of Sussex caters for adult students in the region, with programmes offering the challenges and rewards of a university education on a flexible part-time basis. Many students taking these programmes have not studied since leaving school. Others already have a degree and want to develop their knowledge of other subjects.

Notes for editors

For more information and to book tickets to the CCE Open Lectures telephone 01273 877888 or visit


For more information about the Energy Saving Trust visit


University of Sussex press office contacts: Jessica Mangold and Jacqui Bealing, tel. 01273 678209, fax 01273 877456, email

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