On the eve of the London E-Prix last week, Envision Racing hosted the latest in its series of Race Against Climate Change Live events at the Science Museum in London in partnership with New Scientist and the UK Government.
The event brought together a prestigious line up of global experts from business, sport, policy, entertainment, science and technology to share insights on the urgent next steps needed within electric mobility and the critical role of circularity in making this a sustainable transition.
Hosted by Sky Sports presenter, David Garrido, the opening address was given by renowned climate scientist, Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading. Professor Hawkins outlined the latest science on global warming and stressed the urgency of action to address climate change stating that every delay in our action, every non-action we take means that we end up in a hotter world.
“When we reach net zero, we will have to live with the consequences of that warmer world for generations,” Hawkins said.
“Temperatures will not decline. They will stay hot and we will live in that warmer climate for generations.”
The first of the two panel discussions asked how we can accelerate the transition towards sustainable transport systems and was moderated by EV expert and founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook, Roger Atkins.
He was joined by guest speakers Kristen Siemen, Chief Sustainability Officer at General Motors, Lee McDonough, Director General, Net Zero, Nuclear and International at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Evan Horetsky, Chief Development Officer at AESC and Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, who discussed the latest developments in EV battery technology and the challenges we face in reaching global Net Zero targets for transportation.
This panel was followed by an inspiring interview with Dr Jane Goodall DBE, world-renowned ethologist and conservationist, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. In it she shared her views on the vital role young people can play in shaping a more sustainable future, the importance of hope in the face of such huge global challenges, and what continues to inspire her to campaign so passionately around the climate and biodiversity crisis.
“I truly believe that we’ve got a window of time to make change, but it’s closing,” Dr Goodall said. “If people lose hope, if you don’t believe what you’re doing is going to make a difference then why bother? I say no, you can do something in your community, get a group of people together and do what you’re passionate about.”
After a brief presentation of prizes to the fantastic young winners of Envision’s Recover E ‘Waste to Race’ competition, Graham Lawton, writer and columnist at New Scientist moderated a panel discussion that focused on the growing issue of electronic waste and the potential to adopt a more circular approach to the EV transition.
Speaking on this topic were Matt Manning, Head of Circular Economy at BT Group, Carlo Ratti – Director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT, Dr Maria Neira – Director of environment, climate change and health at the World Health Organisation and Monika Oomen – Vice President of Brand, Communications and Digital Content Strategy for Warner Bros.
The event was closed with an interview with actor, musician and a UN Environment Goodwill Programme Ambassador, Aidan Gallagher, who talked passionately about his journey to becoming an environmental ambassador and his commitment to sharing this message with his young global fanbase.
“I wanted to go surfing one weekend when it rained, and my dad said we couldn’t go because of all the pollution from the land that washed into the ocean. It seemed like a really massive thing to me, and then came the curiosity side of things,” Gallagher said.
“I got into social media and started getting information. I began to get a following on social media and it was a natural pivot to share and repost information that we get from experts to show it to as many people as possible.”
The event was preceded by a zero-emission vehicle breakfast reception hosted by the UK Government and Accelerating to Zero Coalition for speakers and invited guests, and was broadcast to a global audience in partnership with New Scientist.
The event can be viewed in full here or on demand at https://envision-racing.com/event/racc-live-2023/#register-event