Alliance of top universities urge G20 leaders to prioritise net zero emissions

An international coalition of leading climate research universities will issue its first declaration ahead of the G20 Summit on 21 and 22 November 2020. 

The International Universities Climate Alliance member universities span all populated continents, representing one-third of the 100 highest performing climate research universities and a quarter of the top 100 environmental research universities worldwide.

The coalition will bring together 37 international member universities as signatories, including, The University of Manchester, along with nine other UK institutions.

The University of Manchester is home to the renowned Tyndall Centre, Manchester, which undertakes world-class research to deliver agenda-setting insights on energy and climate change. Energy is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.

The Declaration implores world leaders to use the post-COVID recovery to implement measures to counteract climate change, warning that failure to do so will lock in catastrophic consequences for generations to come. Regional media events will be held with a panel of speakers from Asia Pacific and UK university members.

Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Sydney in Australia, a founding member of the Alliance, said he and his colleagues recognised the need for experts with diverse voices to speak out about the climate crisis.

“Many challenges lie ahead of us in combatting the existential crisis in which the world finds itself. The International Universities Climate Alliance is a rich resource upon which governments, business, industry and the wider community can rely for evidence-based expert advice.”

The UK member universities are hosting a joint regional media event to support the initiative with a live Q&A panel of university representatives at 10.00am GMT on Wednesday 18th November 2020.

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.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, Professor Nick Plant, who will be delivering a speech during the UK media event, said, “Universities are uniquely positioned to provide evidence-based knowledge to support urgent global climate action and a green recovery.”

The Climate Alliance is unprecedented in scale and scope and will support world leaders, policy makers and industry in planning for, and responding to, climate change. The advent of the Climate Alliance comes at a time when momentum is building for countries to decarbonise their economies. In recent months there have been moves by various nations to fortify incremental efforts with policies and actions equal to the urgency of the situation.

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

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