Meet Leeds alumni around the globe who are helping to combat the climate crisis.
Seven years since the Paris Agreement, with seven years to go until 2030 – when emissions need to be cut by 50% from 2010 levels to prevent the most serious damage to the planet
Meet members of the Leeds alumni community who are helping to combat the climate crisis.
From Eurostar to the Heathrow Express, Paul Le Blond (MSc Transportation Engineering 1972) has been Strategy Director on some of the UK’s most important transport projects in recent times. He’s now helping the aviation sector to reach net zero.
Did you know?
In 1989, Gareth Davies (Politics 1969) wrote an article for Radio Times, entitled “Warming to the Problem”, which was based on an interview with producers from the first BBC documentary about what was then referred to as the Greenhouse Effect.
How are you helping to fight the climate crisis?
Rosey Grandage (International History and Politics 1986)
Founder, Trustee and Operations Lead at Wild Garsdale Pike, Cumbria
Having had a long-term interest in conservation and tackling the climate crisis, which has grown through being a trustee with a Wildlife Trust, I have recently set up my own charity based on some land I bought in 2020 in Cumbria.
Wild Garsdale Pike is a youth led environment project working with young people from across the north of England. The main aims of the project are to give young people the opportunity to learn about conservation issues and strategies, to carry out survey work and research and to work with the trustees to make positive, practical, research informed changes to the land.
Rachel Bailleau (International Development and Spanish 2018)
Editor, Food Unfolded, France
I work as an editor for a platform which created mission-driven, evidence-based food systems journalism. From freshwater use to greenhouse emissions, biodiversity loss and desertification... the food system is a deep root cause of so much climate chaos. Our journalism brings intellectually honest, solutions-focused information to people in Europe.
Paola Weir (Product Design 2016)
Projects & Solutions Manager - Circular Products at Primark, London
The fashion industry has to move from a linear business to a circular ecosystem and Primark has bold commitments to make a shift, whilst still keeping clothes affordable for all. Ultimately clothes have to be designed for recyclability. My main role is working with the product teams to enact change, making changes to products and ensuring they meet our Circular Product Standard.
Additionally, there's a lot of education and foundational knowledge for teams on what the circular economy, so I support on delivering training across more than 600 colleagues.
Dr Rabia Noor (Health Management Planning and Policy 2018)
Managing Director at Stellar & Ray, Pakistan
By advocacy and awareness alongside work at Stellar & Ray. At Stellar & Ray I campaign for health awareness in women in Pakistan. We run health awareness sessions in remote villages and towns in and around Hazara region.
Nick Cooper (Geophysical Sciences 1989)
CEO at Storegga, Brighton
We're developing projects for carbon capture and storage, and for hydrogen.
Andrew Jenkins (Chinese Studies and Politics 1973)
Senior Consultant at Jenkins Associates, Bangladesh
I am Team Leader of the Char Development and Settlement Project in Bangladesh. The overall development objective of the project is to reduce poverty and hunger for poor people, which would be achieved via improved and more secure livelihood - and protection from climate change.
Kate Lock (MSc Sustainability 2016)
Policy and Communications Manager at the University of Leeds
I work as part of the secretariat for the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, which is based in SRI (Sustainability Research Institute) at the University. I’m also a Commissioner for Leeds Climate Commission and I’m part of the team on the ESRC funded Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN).
Radhika Sikaria (MA Media Industries 2021)
Media Journalist at CNS, Arnhem, Netherlands
As a journalist for a packaging industry publication, I focus on writing articles that highlight critical environmental issues and their impact on the packaging industry. One of my primary responsibilities is to provide a platform for the voices of individuals and organizations that are driving climate action within the industry. By giving them a platform to share their initiatives and success stories, I help inspire others to take similar steps towards sustainability.
I use my journalistic skills to shed light on the bureaucratic obstacles and red tape that often hinder progress in the policy and global sustainability landscape. By revealing the intricacies of the political landscape, I hope to encourage accountability and transparency in the decision-making processes related to climate change and environmental policies.
I've covered stories such as "Corporate Hijacking: US and EU Lawmakers Call for Removal of UAE Sultan as COP28 President" and "G20 Nations Funnelled $14 Trillion of Public Money into Fossil Fuels in 2022" . These articles delve into critical issues, such as the influence of corporate interests in climate summits and the financial support that continues to flow into fossil fuels.
Alexander Saunders (Theoretical Physics 2012)
Risk & Internal Control Manager at ENGIE, Leeds
We're helping to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally-friendly solutions.
Edward Rosen (International History & Politics 1971)
Founding Director of the Lambeth GP Food Co-op, London
We grow vegetables in GP surgery gardens and hospital gardens, which are then sold at a monthly stall at King’s College Hospital. We transform unused space in NHS locations to enable patients to learn how to grow food. We reduce food miles, create new green spaces and contribute to biodiversity in health locations, as well as delivering on the NHS Green agenda.
Katharine Blacklaws (MSc Sustainability 2012)
Consultant at LCP Delta, Bristol
I work on the energy transition to support the switch to low-carbon heat and power. I also volunteer as a director at Bristol Energy Co-operative, which installs community funded renewable energy projects
James Sutton (Advertising & Marketing 2003)
Partnerships Strategic Lead at Zero Hour, Guildford
Zero Hour is the campaign group behind the Climate & Ecology Bill – a vital new piece of legislation needed to reverse the destruction of nature in the UK and make sure the UK does its bit to keep global warming down to 1.5°C, which gives us a chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. I form partnerships for Zero Hour – organisations and people backing the Bill, taking campaign actions, and advocating to politicians to get this Bill made Law.
Antoine Eddison (Chemical Engineering 2012)
Applications Engineer at Pyrocore Ltd., Bristol
I am responsible for the integration of high efficiency thermal energy solutions for the production of process heat, electricity or absorption chilling. This is part of the engineered pyrolysis system designed to capture carbon from a many types of waste biomass and store this carbon as a highly versatile and valuable biochar.
Anamika Chowdhury (International Journalism 2015)
Wind Systems Analyst at Vestas, India
Vestas support various countries across the world to harness renewable electricity using our powerful and efficient wind turbines both onshore and offshore. We are the global leader in sustainable energy solutions with +169GW of wind turbines installed in 88 countries preventing 1.9 billion tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere to date.
As an analyst, my role is to study developments and analyse renewable energy policies across countries in Asia Pacific - a rapidly growing yet thoroughly volatile market. My analysis is used by organisation stakeholders to make strategic decisions on which countries to focus on, and in 'guiding' various governments to determine their national renewable energy policies - all for a greener and more sustainable future.
Will Price (History 2013)
Senior Consultant at Bioregional, London
Following my master I moved to London to work for Sustainability Charity Julie's Bicycle, working to support organizations in the culture sector to take action on climate change. In my current role at Bioregional, I work as part of our Sustainable Business team. I work with partners to design and deliver ambitious sustainability strategies, action plans, net zero carbon plans and support sustainability reporting.
Andy Smith (Physics 1985)
Software project manager at RAL Space, Oxford
I develop and operate ground segment processing software for satellite missions observing the atmosphere. These missions study climate and air quality.
John Oversby (Chemistry 1966)
Researcher at Science Education Futures, Reading
I'm teaching climate change to adolescents and teachers.
Lexi Bowes-Lyon (History of Art 2009)
Global Philanthropy Director at Space for Giants, Africa
Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest issues our planet faces today. We are restoring, protecting and sustainably financing critical protected areas across Africa. By building nature based economies, these areas generate value for local communities and national governments so that they benefit from the protection of nature rather than the destruction of it. Through safeguarding the wildlife and biodiverse habitats, we are securing the nature and key carbon sinks that are fundamental to the mitigation of climate change and our collective future.
Olivia Cadoni (Classics 2011)
Head of Marketing at Planet Mark, London
We help organisations to measure their carbon footprint and take positive action orientated steps to decarbonise. We work with business from all sectors including education to transition to net zero, demystify the metrics and communicate with credibility.
At the University of Leeds, researchers are working collaboratively to help find solutions to the climate crisis, to secure a safer future for all."
Research and innovation from Leeds contribute to important discussions and negotiations that take place at COP. The Priestley Centre for Climate Futures coordinates the University delegation to COP28 which includes both staff and students.
The Horizons Institute on COP28
The Leeds Horizons Institute brings together academics from across disciplines to tackle global challenges.
The Institute helps academics enhance their interdisciplinary skills and elevate interdisciplinary research – at Leeds and around the world.
Kate Fearnyough: Negotiating on behalf of the UK
As a Senior International Climate Science Adviser and Science Negotiator at the at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Kate Fearnyough (MSc Climate Change and Environment 2019) is directly involved in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations – the international treaty adopted by countries all around the world to address the climate crisis.
She acted on behalf of the UK in climate negotiations at COP27, and will carry out a similar role at COP28. Kate has responsibility for ensuring decisions are based on the best available science.
Creative Producer and Co-founder of Duna Films Théo Grainzevelles (Geography 2015) uses video to inspire climate action. Théo and his team were responsible for audio visual production at COP27 and COP28, streaming live to audiences around the world.
“The general public aren’t always going to read the dense scientific documentation,” Theo said. “But they do respond to film. Through social media, event films, adverts, we can inspire change.”
At COP28, Théo and his team will be based in the Innovation Zone. They will film and interview key political stakeholders, and also broadcast from the Youth Pavilion, with the aim of amplifying the voices of young people.
Théo founded Duna Films alongside fellow Leeds alum, Matilda Thompson (Film and Photography 2014) in 2018.