New climate commission for higher education launches

The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders brings together representatives from four sector bodies

A new climate change commission for universities and colleges has been launched by four sector bodies.

The Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders used its launch to call on vice-chancellors to take action on climate change.

The brand-new body comprises representatives from the Association of Colleges (AoC), the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC), Universities UK (UUK) and GuildHE and will be formally unveiled on November 13 at Ravensbourne University London.

Over the next 12 months, the new cross-sector body will unveil a strategic framework, set ambitious targets and propose methods to ensure institutions make progress.

A final report will be presented at the United Nation’s climate change summit in Glasgow in November 2020.

Chair of the Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben said the new HE commission “has the ability to bring the full force of the UK’s expansive and powerful tertiary education sector to bear on climate change”.

“Reaching net zero emissions is essential, it is feasible, and as a sector dedicated to knowledge and thought leadership it is rightfully expected,” Lord Deben added.


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The commission council will work with the government, UK Research and Innovation, Advance HE, student groups and regulatory bodies to help the sector deliver on the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon pledge.

The council paid tribute to the internationally respected climate research undertaken in UK universities, such as the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and Manchester Metropolitan University’s carbon-literacy scheme, which was recognised by the UN as one of its 100 Transformative Action Programs.


The new commission’s members:

  • Steve Frampton, AoC president
  • Prof James Longhurst, assistant vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England and EAUC representative
  • Prof Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester and GuildHE representative
  • Prof Judith Petts, vice-chancellor and chief executive of the University of Plymouth and UUK representative

Read more: University of Winchester plants 1,000 trees

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