Geography Alumnus helping shape Climate change policy

Mark Bateman, James Harries and Julie Jones

Recently James Harries, who studied Geography from 1993-96, visited the department. James, who now lives in Manchester, is a principal consultant working on climate change at Ricardo Energy & Environment.

After graduation, James taught English in Japan for a year before returning to the UK to gain a post-graduate diploma in Japanese. This helped him return to Japan in a role engaging with local organisations wanting to learn more about the UK. He was in Japan at the time when the Kyoto Climate Change Agreement was being signed and this led him to realise he wanted to work more to help combat climate change.

Returning to the UK he joined the Civil Service working with various government departments on climate change, for example helping establish emissions trading policy, EU car CO2 emission standards and the 4th Carbon budget under the Climate Change Act. More recently, in his current role he has been supporting developing countries like Bangladesh develop climate action plans and advising English Local Authorities and City Regions on how to set climate targets and what is required to achieve these.

James remembers his Geography degree well, his dissertation of fluvial geomorphology and especially his final year field class to Spain with Rod Brown. He was interested to hear of current Departmental research contributing to societal responses to the Climate emergency.