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March 30 31 2021
Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, OX2 6GG

The BIEE’s Oxford Conference is a biennial research conference that seeks to understand the drivers of change in energy, both positive and negative. The conference is aimed at energy analysts, researchers, strategy and policy thinkers from all backgrounds, including industry, academia and research organisations, government, the finance community, NGOs and consultancies. BIEE conferences are renowned for the quality of their speakers, for their open, productive discussion and debate and for the diverse range of participants. It is the mix of people and perspectives that makes this conference distinctive.

‘The conference is a fantastic opportunity and melting pot for people in the energy industry, from government from academia from other research organisations. One of the real advantages and one of the special features of the BIEE conference is it’s a place where all of those energy interested people come together. They learn from each other they spark off each other and they build new networks and new coalitions to help drive the energy sector forward.’

Professor Matthew Leach

Conference Theme

This research conference will focus on building the foundations and policies of the low carbon transition aimed at achieving a net zero carbon society in a way that is fair and just.  It will address how we live, work and travel, and how policy, infrastructure and the private sector can respond to enable the transformation of heat, transport and industry.

Now we have all been impacted by Covid-19, it is clear that how we recover from this public health crisis will reshape how we tackle the climate change crisis. In the immediate term, there has been a sharp fall in economic activity and emissions. But the long-term impact depends on how low-carbon investments are affected, and whether opportunities are taken to reinforce some of the (positive, for the environment) behaviour changes that have been observed in lock-down (such as increased remote working and cycling) or to tackle some of the potentially negative impacts (reduced use of public transport).

The conference will consider how the transition has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, how economic recovery plans might accelerate the transition, and if governments are backing up the rhetoric in delivering plans for a green recovery. It will  look at international perspectives and what can be learnt from the experiences of other countries and market sectors.


The conference was originally scheduled for 24th September 2019 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic and the need for social distancing. The conference will now be taking place seven months before the important UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, which is being held in Glasgow in November 2021.

It will also follow the publication of the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget in December 2020  which will set the path to the UK’s new net-zero emissions target in 2050, as the first carbon budget to be set into law following that commitment.

Over the course of the year, to demonstrate that it is serious about net-zero, the Government will need to commit to this pathway and firm up its policy plans. The Government will be considering how to achieve the societal transformation required for net-zero which is precisely the focus of the BIEE conference.

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