The Oxford Climate Forum was held with the Oxford Hub over the weekend of 3rd week. Using the banner ‘Climate Change: An Opportunity’, Fleur Nash, one of the coordinators of the Oxford Climate Forum held over the weekend of 3rd week, explained that climate change is a multiple opportunities, linking innovation, change and ideas, instead of a specific one. “We want climate change to be seen in a more positive light.”
Caroline Taylor, another coordinator of the event, added that the Oxford Climate Forum want to inspire people who come to the conference to believe that they can real impact, such as getting involved in bringing climate change to a wider audience, or take routes down climate science or business. “We want to open students’ eyes […] to the whole spectrum of opportunities.”
But are these opportunities come at a cost – is cleaner energy more expensive? Nash disagrees, raising an example from the work done by Dipal Barua, one of the speakers in the conference. “Solar energy we heard […] is cheap, it’s falling [in price]. Chinese mass production has meant that solar panels can be bought by ordinary people.”
Taylor continued to emphasise that business should get involved as they can “drive such a proportion of that change”.
“They are the system, but if we can get that system to take in the factors of climate change greatly, you need to think that you can factor in the external cost of climate change, then business is probably the best place to make that shift and to make that a really big difference in tackling mitigating climate change.”
When asked about reports that one of the sponsors, IBM, pouring in huge sums of money into oil extraction investment, the coordinators are quick to clarify that IBM are a sponsor to the Oxford Hub, not directly to the Oxford Climate Forum, but across all climate forums in the UK run by the student hubs working at various universities, so they do not get a say in accepting or rejecting IBM.
“Our criteria [to whether accept sponsorship from a company] would be to look at the overall impact and to see what their message is, and what their goals and aims are.” Taylor commented.
“With IBM, obviously they work with oil companies and in the tar fields – they have that side of their business. They do also have sustainable side of their business as well, which we feel like that you need to support and expand for that to overcome the other side of their business for them to grow as business on a whole in a sustainable area.” Nash says.
“If you have that complete divide, then nothing’s gonna happen – it’s all about working together.”
“The fact that they have sponsored us and given us money – this has allowed for all these speakers to come together and to inspire students, that’s a really valuable thing. Without them, we could not really have done that.”
“People start to need accepting is that it’s not a win-win clear situation – you really got to battle through and got to make those compromises for actual change to occur.”