Extreme E's Scientific Committee commits for Season 3

04.03.2023: Environmentally conscious off-road championship Extreme E has today confirmed that it will continue to work with its esteemed Scientific Committee during 2023. The distinguished team of academics – each with their own area of expertise - was orig

Environmentally conscious off-road championship Extreme E has today confirmed that it will continue to work with its esteemed Scientific Committee during 2023.  

The distinguished team of academics – each with their own area of expertise - was originally brought together back in 2020, ahead of the first ever race, to advise Extreme E and their organisers on research programmes, event logistics and environmental impact in addition to the recommendation of positive legacy – key components of this championship.

The Scientific Committee will have a new chair for 2023 in Professor Carlos Duarte, taking over from Professor Richard Washington who held the role in Season 2.

Duarte es Ibn Sina, a distinguished Professor of Marine Science at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), where he also holds the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology. He was recently voted number 12 on Reuters’ top 200 most influential climate scientists list.

Professor Duarte said: “I am thrilled to chair the Extreme E Scientific Committee in 2023, following on the excellent work of my predecessors, and look forward to furthering our initiatives that are in placing and helping to develop further legacy programmes across the year.

“The legacy and scientific aspects are a true cornerstone to the series. Even in the first year, we were able to conduct research in Saudi Arabia and collect ice and sediment samples from the Russell Glacier.

“This championship gives me and my peers the opportunity to reach people outside of our usual networks, it gives us a voice to reach the masses and educate on climate issues and the solutions we can all be a part of.”

South African native Washington is Professor of Climate Science at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. With degrees from The University of Natal and University of Oxford, Richard has lectured at The University of Stellenbosch and The University of Cape Town.

Commenting on his first two seasons working with the championship, Professor Washington said: “Season 1 in Extreme E focused hard on climate impacts – wildfires, melting ice caps, sea-level rise, desertification, biodiversity loss. It is necessary medicine to learn about these issues and their tight connection to climate change.

“Season 2, quite rightly, also saw an emphasis on what we can do about the climate problem. The last X Prix of Season 2 had the theme Energy and is fittingly matched with Uruguay. The need to generate energy differently is at the absolute heart of the climate problem.”

Marine Biologist, Professor Lucy Woodall, (The University of Exeter/Nekton Foundation) oversees the Extreme E’s Ocean events, having dedicated her career to understanding the impacts of humans on the health of the world’s marine environments and the factors that drive biodiversity in the ocean. Professor Woodall has also pioneered research into the consequences of marine litter, and the effects and ubiquity of microplastics in the deep sea.

Professor Woodall said: “Extreme E offers an exciting platform to highlight the important issues to new audiences and that is what I really enjoy about it. We only have a healthy planet if we have a healthy ocean and to do this, we all need to engage more with the ocean and the consequences of our action on it.

"For example, human induced rapid sea level rise is a consequence of climate change but there are things that we can all do to help mitigate this, especially as some of the most historically under-privileged groups are feeling the impacts most critically.

“Creating awareness and helping to create behaviour change are key. Across the broadcasts and legacy projects, Extreme E is able to highlight the important and positive work of local groups from across the world.”
University of Cambridge’s Emeritus Professor Peter Wadhams also continues on the Committee, and has spent more than five decades researching the cause and prevention of the melting ice cap.

During his career as professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group, the intrepid academic has made more than 50 polar expeditions to the Arctic, in his quest to look for ways to prevent loss of sea ice. Wadhams chaired the Scientific Committee in Season 1.

Professor Wadhams explains: “For a long time, I studied ice as if it were a permanent feature of the world, but then in the 1980s, I was doing frequent voyages to the North Pole in UK nuclear submarines and found the average ice thickness was diminishing.

Nobody had noticed this before. The ice has also been shrinking but the thinning was obvious – it’s now more than 50 per cent. This led me to investigate other aspects of the climate, particularly the polar climate, that might be changing.

During Extreme E’s first visit to Greenland back in 2021, Wadhams worked with UNICEF to design and develop educational resources to enable teachers and school children in the region to understand and start to address the climate related issues that are putting their futures and those of generations to come at risk.

“I love my job as a professor because it involves teaching as well as research It seemed very natural for me to couple my Extreme E work with that educational project. It closes a circle for me” said Wadhams.

“One special aspect of Extreme E is that the races in widely separated parts of the world can sometimes link together in unexpected ways; Last year, for instance, we found that the Greenland ice cap was accumulating black carbon pollution with the same mix of compounds as was being emitted by smoke from brushfires in Sardinia; both of these were racing locations.”

Handling and advising Extreme E with its extensive legacy programmes in the Amazon, Brazilian conservationist, Dr Francisco Oliveira (The University of Cambridge and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) is an expert with over 20 years’ experience working on the issues facing the Amazon Rainforest and its communities.

Formerly the Director of Policies to combat deforestation at the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (2012-2015), he recently completed a PhD on Amazon conservation.

With Francisco’s guidance Extreme E has supported The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Restoration programme in Pará to secure 100 hectares of existing forest, restoring 100 hectares of native forest by working alongside with local smallholders.

On the work that has already taken place here, Oliveira explained: “The Amazon has been in agony, deforestation has started to grow again, reversing a trend of the last decade, and fire has also intensified, affecting the forests, their biodiversity, their environmental services, and the people who live in and depend on the forest.

“More sectors have mobilised in search of solutions for the economic and social development of this immense region of the planet that values standing forests.”

Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said
: “These amazing scientists we have on board are experts in their respective fields and play an incredibly valuable role in supporting Extreme E’s goals, as well as ensuring that our legacy programmes leave behind positive impact in the locations where we go racing.

“When we first started Extreme E, we said we had ambitions of doing things differently. I believe it is still a sporting first for a championship to have an independent panel of scientists advising its climate and sustainability practices.

“This Committee of world-leading scientists who guide our climate and sustainability research, as well as our education programmes, are integral to our mission and we could not do what we do without them.  

“We are honoured to have such a highly respected group of academics on-board who share in our passion and our overarching goals.”

Josh Bell- photos Extreme E

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/extreme-e-scientific-committee-commits-season-3---248174.html

04.03.2023 / MaP

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