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Universities unite over global climate challenges

Press release

A global coalition of leading climate research universities has urged world leaders to act now to avoid catastrophic environmental consequences.

The International Universities Climate Alliance, which includes Leeds, represents a quarter of the world’s top 100 environmental research universities.

The group has now issued its first declaration ahead of the G20 Summit this weekend, during which leaders of the largest economies of the world will discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.

The University of Leeds is renowned for its climate research, including at the Faculty of Environment and the Priestley International Centre for Climate, which brings together world leading expertise in all key strands of climate change research.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at Leeds, said: “Universities are uniquely positioned to provide evidence-based knowledge which clearly shows the need and opportunities for raising both national and global ambitions to support urgent climate action and a green recovery.”

The Alliance’s declaration implores world leaders to use the post-COVID recovery to implement measures to counteract climate change.

It warns that failure to do so will lock in catastrophic consequences for generations to come.

Universities are uniquely positioned to support urgent climate action and a green recovery.


Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales in Australia – a founding member of the Alliance – said colleagues recognised the need for experts to speak as one voice on the climate crisis.

“Many challenges lie ahead of us in combatting the existential crisis in which the world finds itself,” he said.

“The International Universities Climate Alliance is a rich resource upon which governments, business and industry – and individuals – can rely for evidence-led advice.”

UK climate experts have a long history of supporting national and international decision-makers with the evidence-base for climate action including contributions to United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, UK Climate Change Risk Assessments, UK carbon budgets and regional climate assemblies.

Unprecedented in scale and scope, the alliance of 48 universities will support world leaders, policy makers and industry in planning for – and responding to – climate change. Its declaration comes at a time when momentum is building for countries to decarbonise their economies.

The alliance will provide a central hub for universities to share the latest climate research and enable greater collaboration between leading research teams.

Further information

Picture credit: Pixabay