International alliance to accelerate climate action

A new international alliance of universities has been established to help communicate research on the most effective means to meet the urgent global challenge of the climate crisis.

The University of Leeds is a founding member of the International Universities Climate Alliance, which launched today.

Initiated by the University of New South Wales, Sydney, the Climate Alliance involves 40 of the world’s leading climate research universities, from countries including Brazil, China, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Netherlands, Singapore, UK and USA.

Alliance members will work together to identify the most effective ways to communicate research-based facts related to climate change to the public. Members will engage in work across climate change science, impact, mitigation strategies and adaptation.

The University of Leeds plans to take a leading role sharing knowledge for net-zero and climate-resilient solutions across the network.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “Tackling the climate crisis requires global cooperation on an unprecedented scale.

“The alliance can deliver this by sharing best practice across universities, providing a coordinated evidence base to inform urgent decisions, and training a new generation of innovative researchers to deliver net-zero on our campuses and around the world.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, smiles at camera with the Great Hall in the background
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds

Membership comprises a global network of universities, united by their dedication to producing critical climate research.

The Climate Alliance benefits from a multi-disciplinary research focus around the most important research themes to enable greater engagement with policymakers, educators and business leaders looking to apply the latest research findings to accelerate climate action.

UNSW Sydney’s President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs, initiated the creation of the Climate Alliance because of the vital role universities play in advancing the science and solutions in this field. He said: “This new Alliance will be at the forefront of the international conversation around addressing climate change.”

Notwithstanding current urgencies around the coronavirus pandemic, the members decided not to delay formation of the Alliance due to the pressing and ongoing need to accelerate climate action.

Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said: “This Alliance has world-leading research capabilities – we now need to work much closer with our governments, our cities, our industries and to learn by doing.

“Through this new international collaboration we hope to provide a leading, unified voice that can help drive the acceleration in changes required.”

Dr Louise Ellis, Director of Sustainability at Leeds, said: “Here at Leeds we are committed to tackling the climate crisis head on; through changes we are making to our campus operations, our research expertise, the way we interact with the world and through our curriculum across the board.

“We’re proud to be joining this Alliance to help increase the impact that our own climate action can achieve on to a global scale.”

Leeds’ part in this alliance highlights our commitment to tackling climate change, as outlined in our seven principles for action on the climate crisis.

The principles include a drive to secure a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, and moves to reorient our research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector.

About the Climate Alliance

See the International Universities Climate Alliance website for further information.

The 40 Climate Alliance member universities are: Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, China University of Geosciences, Cornell University, Delft University of Technology, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, King’s College London, McGill University, Monash University, Nanjing University, National University of Singapore, New York University, Oregon State University, Penn State University, Sorbonne University, TERI School of Advanced Studies, Texas A&M University, University of São Paulo, University of Bern, University of Bremen, University of Bristol, University of East Anglia, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Ghana, University of Helsinki, University of Hong Kong , University of Illinois, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, University of Melbourne, University of Nairobi, University of New South Wales, University of Reading, University of Southampton, University of Tasmania , University of the South Pacific, University of Waikato, University of Washington, Utrecht University