Sussex University declares climate emergency

Vice-chancellor Adam Tickell said he was unsure of making the declaration but was inspired by student demonstrations to change his mind

The University of Sussex has declared a climate emergency.

Sussex follows the University of Bristol, University of Plymouth, University of Glasgow, Keele University and Newcastle University in making the move.

Adam Tickell, University of Sussex vice-chancellor, said the provider was “in an extremely strong position to lead this charge”.

He also said the higher education sector would “be failing the young people who turn to us – and who need us to protect their futures” if they did not work together to address the climate crisis.

I’ve previously been unsure about declaring a climate emergency as I believe more in actions than words – Adam Tickell, vice-chancellor

Tickell, who spoke at the UN high-level political forum on sustainable development in July, said: “I’ve previously been unsure about declaring a climate emergency as I believe more in actions than words.

“But in visiting the UN and witnessing the achievements of youth movements in recent months, I’ve seen that words have tremendous power to drive actions on a global scale.

“It is absolutely clear to me that the urgent action needed to address the daunting challenge of global climate change cannot be achieved without the expertise and collective voice of the world’s universities.”


Read more: Cambridge University commits to zero carbon emissions by 2048


Sussex has invested £3m in establishing a global research programme to address the UN’s sustainable development goals (SGDs).

Other recent investments have included 3,000 new solar panels at the campus, the largest solar energy project at a UK HEI, and new charging points for electric vehicles.

The university has also expanded its distance learning capabilities and created a new “socially responsible” investment strategy.

The Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), led by former UN chief scientist Prof Joseph Alcamo, says the higher education sector can address the SDGs quicker if they merge the 17 targets together – for example, viewing solutions to biodiversity and food alongside one another.

Sussex also hopes its reputation for development studies, ranked number one in the world for four of the past five years, means it is well-placed to offer solutions.


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