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Outrage and optimism in the face of the climate crisis: watch the 43rd TB Macaulay Lecture

Speakers of the 43rd TB Macaulay Lecture
“Time is quickly running out, and we must act with the ambition and urgency necessary to deliver a just transition to net-zero and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

How do climate negotiations take place and why is progress so slow? How can governments, scientists and activists work together to tackle the climate emergency for everyone's benefit? These questions, and many others, were at the heart of the 43rd TB Macaulay Lecture, led by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in conversation with Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and youth climate activists Anuna De Wever, Lola Segers and Julieta Martinez.

Traditionally held in Edinburgh, this year the TB Macaulay Lecture took place in Glasgow to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and was hosted by broadcast journalist Laura Goodwin. An audience of 321 delegates attended the lecture in person at Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation Centre, and more than six hundred delegates from 30 countries watched the live stream. 

Introducing the speakers, Fran van Dijk, chair of the Macaulay Development Trust, said: "The Macaulay Development Trust and the Lecture are here thanks to the gift of TB Macaulay many years ago. He cared deeply about the land, especially rural land, and the people who live there. His generosity means we can fund research into sustainable land use, food systems and communities, all of which lie at the very heart of the climate emergency."

During her interventions, youth activists Anuna De Wever, Lola Segers and Julieta Martinez spoke passionately about the need to call out injustice and inequality, and how the world needs to put pressure on world leaders if we are to successfully tackle the climate crisis.

Following up, and in a speech before Ms Figueres' lecture, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This summit could be our best, and possibly our last chance to come together and act upon the climate crisis for now, but more importantly, for future generations.

“Time is quickly running out, and we must act with the ambition and urgency necessary to deliver a just transition to net-zero and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

During the lecture, Ms Figueres described her dissatisfaction with the sometimes slow progress of climate negotiations, but she also highlighted where advances have been made and reasons to be optimistic. She also emphasized the role of science in driving the conversation about climate change and holding world leaders to account, and was later joined by the First Minister and youth climate activists for a Q&A session.

Closing the event, Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: "This was an outstanding evening. You'll be privileged to have some insight about what actually happens during COP discussions. Thank you to the Macaulay Development Trust, our event organisers, our audience and particularly our speakers for their time, passion and eloquence." 

Professor Campbell added that the James Hutton Institute will plant a tree for each of the speakers and for everyone in the audience, in person and online, at the Institute's Glensaugh research farm, near Laurencekirk. "This will create a new woodland and we'll study it scientifically, to decide the best options to managing our land better in the future." 

Presented by the Macaulay Development Trust and the James Hutton Institute, the annual TB Macaulay Lecture is given to stimulate thinking and dialogue about contemporary environmental issues. You can watch the 43rd TB Macaulay Lecture on its dedicated website or below. The latest episode of Ms Figueres' podcast, Outrage and Optimism, also references the 43rd TB Macaulay Lecture.

Notes to editors:

The annual TB Macaulay Lecture honours the vision of Dr Thomas Bassett Macaulay. Dr Macaulay was one-time President and Chairman of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada who provided an endowment to found the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research in Aberdeen in 1930, a predecessor of the James Hutton Institute.

The Macaulay Development Trust is a charity which supports excellent research into sustainable use of land and natural resources, for the benefit of people, their communities and the environment which aligns with the vision and legacy of TB Macaulay.  It has financial investments, which are managed on an ethical basis and some investment property which generate the funds which are subsequently distributed in grants.

Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/outrage-and-optimism-face-climate-crisis-watch-43rd-tb-macaulay-lecture on 26/02/24 02:12:56 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.