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Tony Blair and John Kerry discuss urgent need to tackle climate change in online event hosted by Science Museum Group

  • On 29 July former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joins US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to discuss the climate crisis and to explore some of the possible solutions to it, from the economic to the technological and the political;
  • The event will be moderated by xx and has been organised in collaboration with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change;
  • The event is part of the Science Museum Group’s Climate Talks series, running throughout 2021 the talks are leading public engagement around climate science within the cultural sector in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow;
  • Streamed online to connect with an expanding global audience, the event series brings together a diverse, distinguished line up of international speakers.

Tony Blair in Conversation with John Kerry, 29 July 2021 (13.00–14.00)

On 29 July the Science Museum Group will be hosting a special Climate Talks event as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joins US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to discuss the climate crisis and to explore some of the possible solutions to it, from the economic to the technological and the political.  

Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group, said: ‘This event promises to be a real highlight of our Climate Talks series, allowing our audiences to hear Tony Blair and John Kerry’s perspectives and insights on the world’s defining challenge, based on their decades of experience on the global stage. Through this series, we’re inviting our audiences to think deeply about the challenge and to contribute to the exploration of how science can help humanity take on the existential threat of climate change.’

Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 where he created the Department for International Development, tripled the UK’s foreign aid to Africa, and introduced legislation to tackle climate change. After leaving office, he established the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change to work on some of the most difficult challenges facing our planet, including climate change. 

John Kerry served as the 68th US Secretary of State from 2013–2017. During his time at the White House he signed the Paris Climate Accords at the United Nations in 2016 and later that year became the first Secretary of State to visit Antarctica, spending two days on the continent meeting with researchers. In November 2020, President-elect Joe Biden's team announced that Kerry would be taking on a full-time role as a special envoy for climate. 

Together their decades of experience on the global stage make their insights into the challenge of confronting climate change invaluable, and their views on the obstacles that lie ahead, essential. 

More on Climate Talks

Throughout 2021 the Science Museum Group’s public programme of exhibitions and events will have a major focus on sustainability and climate change, reinforcing a commitment to engaging the museums’ physical and digital audiences with the science and solutions to the urgent challenges facing our planet. This includes the Our Future Planet exhibition at the Science Museum, Manchester Science Festival hosted by the Science and Industry Museum, and online content exploring environmental objects and their incredible stories from the Science Museum Group Collection.

The Group’s event series Climate Talks will lead public engagement around climate science within the cultural sector and conclude in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. Streamed online to connect with an expanding global audience, the event series brings together a diverse, distinguished line up of international speakers including climate scientists, astronauts, engineers, industry leaders, activists, journalists, politicians and high-profile cultural figures. Climate Talks confronts the most pressing issues around climate science and explores which innovations can really make a difference in tackling the most urgent threat to planet Earth and humanity.  

Ends 

Notes to Editors

For further information about this event or upcoming cultural events please get in touch with Freya Barry, freya.barry@sciencemuseum.ac.uk  or 020 7942 4327. Images are available to download.

Upcoming Climate Talks

COP26: How it Can Achieve What the World Needs? 5 August 2021 (19.30 – 20.45) 

Join a panel of experts to discuss the agenda and ambitions for the most important climate talks of all: the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. The conference will see leaders from across the globe come together with the aim of agreeing new and ambitious targets to tackle the climate crisis. To reach net zero carbon emissions by mid-century, nations must cut their reliance on fossil fuels, protect ecosystems and invest in efficient infrastructure and clean energy solutions globally. The panel for the event includes: former UK Special Representative for Climate Change, Professor Sir David King; A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development at Harvard University, Professor Robert Stavins; with further speakers to be announced.  
   
How to Feed the World Without Costing the Earth, 8 September 2021 (19.30 – 20.45)

Join a panel of experts to explore the impact of agriculture on climate and the opportunities offered by innovation in food production technologies. Climate change is already having an observable impact on food security and disruption to global food supplies is only expected to get worse with more extreme weather events. The food industry is also the cause of high levels of greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide released by transport, methane released by livestock and from organic waste in landfills, along with nitrous oxide produced by fertilisers, so innovative solutions are needed. The panel includes: Lead Researcher for Food Security at the University of Cambridge, Dr Asaf Tzachor; Country Director at Farm Africa, Petronella Halwiindi; with further speakers to be announced.  

About the Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television. Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe. More information can be found at group.sciencemuseum.org.uk.  

The Science Museum Group and sustainability

The Science Museum Group (SMG) has been a leader in raising climate awareness through its public programme while the Group’s approach to sustainability has transformed its working practices and collections care. The Group has cut emissions by a significant amount but there is much more we can do. We’ve made a commitment to reach net zero by 2033 – covering both the carbon footprint of our own operations and our supply chain. Other highlights in this area from the past decade include:

  • Since 2011/12, SMG has cut direct carbon emissions by 69%, from its operations despite increasing floor area by 24% as a result of museums joining the Group, and purchases all its electricity from renewable sources (except at the Blythe House object store);
  • In 2005, the Science Museum became the first national museum to install solar panels on its roof;
  • The National Collections Centre site at Wroughton hosts a solar farm business that generates almost four times the total amount of energy used by the whole of SMG;
  • We’ve also built a hempcrete storage facility at the National Collections Centre and the site uses two prototype hydrogen fuel cell cars;
  • The Atmosphere gallery exploring the science of climate change, which opened in 2010, has been seen by more than 5 million people;
  • In 2019, the Science Museum Group announced fresh commitments to biodiversity including planting at least 1,000 native, locally-sourced trees a year on its estate throughout this decade, joining 43,000 trees already planted at the National Collections Centre;
  • Biodiversity has also been encouraged by the addition of bee hives at the Science Museum, installing over a hundred bird and bat boxes together with log piles and hibernacula for reptiles and insects at the National Collections Centre, planting wildflowers at Locomotion in County Durham, and extensive new box planting across the Science and Industry Museum’s seven-acre historic city-centre site in Manchester;
  • Climate change has been a recurrent theme in SMG’s public programme, with exhibitions including: Unlocking Lovelock; The Rubbish Collection, an art installation made of waste; Luke Jerram’s spectacular artwork Gaia, as part of the National Science and Media Museum’s Hello Universe exhibition; and the Lovelock Art Commissions for Manchester Science Festival: The Sounds of Others: A Biophonic Line with artist Marcus Coates and Cape Farewell (2014); Evaporation with artist Tania Kovats and Cape Farewell (2015) and Cloud Crash with Nerc / Cape Farewell and artists HeHe (2016/17). 

More information about Sustainability and the Science Museum Group.

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