How can universities respond to climate change?

29 Aug 2017
What are UK universities doing about climate change and the Paris Climate Agreement?

Universities play a vital role in understanding climate change – including how to avoid its worst impacts.

The scale of action being taken across UK universities is impressive. Most universities are very active on the issue. But there are still major gaps.

We've banged heads with academics and students to come up with a draft climate change strategy for universities. If you think we've missed something, we'd love to know.

Whether you're a student, a member of staff – or live nearby – you can use it to find out how your university can help tackle climate change.

The top things a university can do to tackle climate change

  1. Promote a positive vision of how the world can meet the Paris goals.
  2. Focus emissions-reduction research on how to meet the Paris 1.5°C goal.
  3. Move away from research leading to extracting more fossil fuels.
  4. Implement a climate change education programme for all students – also available to staff and residents and businesses in the city.
  5. Be part of a global network of Universities committed to meeting the Paris climate goals.
  6. Deliver a timetable plan to go zero-carbon across all university operations.
  7. Pull out of all deals – including funding – with companies involved in fossil fuel extraction by 2020.
  8. Ensure only companies with a business strategy compatible with the Paris 1.5°C goal can attend careers-fairs.
  9. Implement a strategy to cope with the climate impacts which can no longer be avoided.
  10. Make the University Senior Leadership Team responsible for delivering this strategy.

Read an analysis of the institutions' responses and our draft strategy.