Special Interest Day 2021 Programme

Special Interest Day 20th September 2021

‘Climate Change and Sustainable Futures’



08:45  Coffee available in Ellis Theatre Foyer

09:30  Welcome Memorial Hall

09:45  Climate Change – is it really real?
Penny Tranter, Meteorological Office

Global ‘Climate Change’ has created global concern.  In this presentation we will look at: the causes, projected impacts, possible steps for mitigation and the need for greater understanding of climate change and greater global awareness of the issue.

10:45  Coffee Ellis Theatre Foyer

11:05  Fusion Power – Within our grasp?
Robin Stafford Allen formerly Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

The world energy issue will be covered and then I will move on to showing what nuclear fusion is (power generation free from CO2 and nuclear waste) and how it is being researched using the machines in UK (JET) and the latest machine in France (ITER).  I will endeavour to show the progress toward putting fusion generated electricity onto the grid within our lifetime

12:05  Buffet Lunch Adderley Room

13:30  The Circular Carbon Economy
Professor Peter Edwards FRS, University of Oxford

Carbon will continue as a necessary component for our energy future – but – only with its continued use in a sustainable and circular manner.  Our Carbon Economy must therefore become a closed loop, Circular Carbon Economy.   The Circular Carbon Economy is the route to a world economy that is both restorative and regenerative.

14:30  Societal Perceptions of Climate Change and Support for Low Carbon Lifestyles
Dr Katharine Steentjes, University of Cardiff

The challenge set out by international agreements, to keep global warming to below 2°C, will require drastic changes to our lifestyles.  This talk will examine current shifts in public perception and look at what motivates behaviour change.  The aim being to understand psychological barriers and motivations to embrace low carbon lifestyles on both individual and a societal levels.

15:30  Closing Words; Tea Adderly Room

16:00  Departure

Penny Tranter


Penny Tranter is currently a Met Office Advisor working in Southwest England and is involved in providing professional meteorological and climate advice, primarily on severe weather, to emergency responders and planners.  Penny has worked in the Met Office for over 35 years originally as a professional weather forecaster.  Previous roles have included: national and international BBC weather presenter between 1992 and 2008, Meteorology Training Manager at the Met Office College 2008 to 2011 and a member of the successful official Met Office weather forecasting team for the sailing events in Weymouth during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Penny is a Chartered Meteorologist and a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.  She enjoys sailing, powerboat instructing, swimming, walking, cinema, theatre, watching tennis, Bath and 6 Nations Rugby, and girlie weekends.

Robin Stafford Allen

Robin has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, he also has an MSc in Bioengineering.  He started professional life in the motor industry at Vauxhall/Bedford in Luton.  Then worked for several years on the engineering of the first generation of MRI magnets and cryostats with Oxford Magnet Technology.

He joined Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)in 1992, and worked in Cryogenics and in the Heating and Fuelling of plasmas.  He spent a sabbatical six years as Director of Engineering for a small company on the Culham site designing and constructing a large 1-metre-bore special superconducting magnet for the AMS-2 experiment (a mass-spectrometer) which was launched on the penultimate Shuttle flight to the International Space Station.  Until retirement four years ago he worked full time at CCFE on the mechanical engineering of the plasma-heating equipment for the ITER machine, and the British fusion research effort MAST machine.  He works part time for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and lectures part-time on Engineering at Oxford Brookes University.

Professor Peter Edwards FRS

Peter Edwards is professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford University and a core member of Oxford Energy (https://www.energy.ox.ac.uk/wordpress/) and a Fellow of St Catherine’s College.  He is the recipient of the Corday-Morgan Medal (1985), the Tilden Lectureship (1993–94) and Liversidge Award (1999) of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  He was awarded the 2003 Hughes Medal of the Royal Society for his distinguished work as a solid state chemist.  In the spring of 2012 he was elected International Member of the American Philosophical Society; one of only four people from the UK in that year to be awarded this honour across all subjects and disciplines.  He was elected as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Dr Katharine Steentjes

Katharine Steentjes is a Social Psychologist and currently works for the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations at Cardiff University.  She has worked on several international research projects examining public perceptions of environmental risks (such as climate change), policy strategies, energy solutions and psychological factors underlying these views.  Katharine’s particular research interest concerns social normative processes surrounding climate change, how norms are communicated interpersonally and how society (might) shift towards more sustainable lifestyles.  Having a focus on communicating research findings to wider audiences, Katharine has been involved in public engagement events, recommendation reports, launch events and policy briefings.