140 British Universities Committed to Act on Climate

UK

140 universities across the United Kingdom have supported a new set of commitments on climate action, prepared by Universities UK.

As part of the efforts to combat the global climate emergency, the country’s universities are supporting the government’s work to cut carbon emissions by 78 percent by 2035.

According to a media release by Universities UK, the commitments include reduction of emissions as well as a pledge to champion the UN Sustainable Development Goals Accord, Erudera.com reports.

In the new UUK report named “Confronting the climate emergency: a commitment from UK universities,” UK universities have, among others, made huge steps to make campuses sustainable while they invest for the future by equipping students with the knowledge, skills, and climate literacy needed for solving the climate crisis.

Vice-Chancellors of the universities have urged the government to acknowledge the important role of universities that are providing COP26 scholarships to attract talents who can become tomorrow’s leaders on climate, adding that they hope the overall contribution of universities to climate issues will not be impacted by the budget cuts.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth and Chair of the Universities UK Climate Task and Finish Group, Judith Petts, described universities as “the most effective weapons in the UK’s climate and environmental armoury.” She further said that they are also equipping graduates with the skills and determination needed to address the climate crisis.   

“The commitments universities are making are far more than simply touting our eco-credentials. But we need government to support sustainable funding for the sector rather than further cuts, and specifically we hope that they will recognise the opportunities of the COP26 scholarships,” Petts said.

The Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes, said that transitioning to a green economy to reduce the carbon emissions requires action from the education and skills sector.

“Universities and colleges both have unique roles, and must work together in places to align priorities and make it easier for people and employers to navigate the green skills agenda. Both will be vital to deliver faster and greater progress on the road to reaching net-zero by 2050,” Hughes added.

Universities have agreed on the following:

  • To set targets for scope 1 and 2 emission reductions supporting the government’s plan to reduce emissions by 78 percent in 2035 and achieve net-zero by 2050.
  • To set a target for scope 3 emission reductions and other targets related to the environment
  • To show targets on the website and provide information on how the university is addressing the climate emergency through teaching, research, leadership, local contributions, and campus responsibilities.
  • To identify how progress against these targets will be reported in a transparent, consistent, and understandable way.
  • Collaborate with official statistics providers to improve the collection of data.
  • Sign the UN SDG Accord or embed elements of SDG accord reporting into their existing reporting.
  • Use the Climate Commission’s Climate Action toolkit to evaluate how will further actions through the university’s policies could move forward the UN SDGs.

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