University of Sheffield scientists react to the USA exit from climate deal

Scientists from the University of Sheffield who presented to world leaders, politicians and policy makers at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 have reacted to the announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord agreement.

Rice in handsProfessor Tony Ryan, Director of the University of Sheffield Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, said that, despite the announcement, it is vital researchers continue to work with colleagues in the US to build the evidence base for climate change and develop mitigating technology.

Speaking in reaction to the announcement he said:

"This recent announcement leaves the civil society aghast, but at the same time safe in the knowledge that President Trump’s view is not representative of either his great country or the rest of the world.

"We will continue to work with our colleagues in the USA to build the evidence base for climate change, develop mitigating technology and work to decarbonise the economy through renewable energy generation, storage and distribution.

"It is encouraging to see the cities and states of the US uniting in their aim of fulfilling the Paris Climate Accord, whilst the rest of the world progresses to a low carbon future led by the ultimate superpower – the sun."

Leading academics and PhD students from the University of Sheffield's Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Energy 2050 attended the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015 to share their research and expertise on food security and sustainable energy. This added to the evidence base that helped to secure the global deal to prevent global temperatures rising more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures

The University of Sheffield's Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures is a hub of outstanding interdisciplinary research and innovative sustainability solutions. The research conducted at the centre focuses on two immediate issues:

  • Enough for everyone – making sure that people everywhere have enough clean water and nutritious, safe and appropriate food as well as reliable, affordable and clean energy to meet their needs.
  • Reducing global consumption – slowing the depletion of natural resources and emissions of greenhouse gases, to make sure that society's needs are met without compromising the needs of future generations.

The centre was launched after the University of Sheffield was awarded £2.6 million from Jeremy Grantham – a world-renowned investment manager and co-founder, with his wife Hanne, of the Grantham Foundation.

The University of Sheffield's Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures is pioneering research and real-life solutions to urgent issues facing today's society. It also runs an innovative PhD programme that is building a global community of future sustainability leaders.

Energy 2050

The University of Sheffield is committed to a shared effort to tackle climate change and fossil-free investment. The University's Energy 2050 institute is one of the UK's largest energy research institutes.

The initiative focuses on energy innovation and knowledge exchange and brings together more than 120 academics and 250 PhD students. It's a research institute that goes beyond traditional research boundaries by delivering innovations to power producers and major consumers with technology providers, focused on competitiveness and the de-risking of large scale investment in new technologies both in the UK and internationally.

Matthew Billson, Programme Director of the University of Sheffield's Energy 2050, said:

"The Paris Agreement was the culmination of years of negotiations by governments across the world.

"Its success gives companies and innovators a clear vision for developing new energy technologies and low-carbon solutions to transport and cities.

By withdrawing, President Trump will cause uncertainty and confusion for American businesses – damaging American industry, thereby having exactly the opposite impact he hoped for.

"The world will still need steel, and cement, and glass, but with commitment, investment and innovation, these industries can also move to a low-carbon future."

Next week Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Head of University Energy Research will be visiting the Clean Energy Ministerial 8 (CEM8) in Beijing. The annual meeting of 24 member countries and the European Union will provide an opportunity to leverage high-level political will and private sector leadership to drive ambitious, real-world clean energy policies and actions.

Additional information


The contribution Sheffield scientists made to the Paris Climate Accord

The Grantham Centre of Sustainable Futures

Energy 2050

Clean Energy Ministerial 8

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations


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Kirsty Bowen
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