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29 Universities Pledge Support for Climate Goals

October 29, 2021

The U7+ Alliance of World Universities earlier this week issued a statement declaring its commitment to supporting the climate goals coming out of the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The leaders of 29 universities from 12 countries said the alliance “recognizes that climate change is a global challenge that presents serious threats to natural environments, human health, security and economic stability.”

The alliance committed to adopting a number of recommendations developed by a number of working groups. First, ensuring that students have access to courses related to sustainability, climate and biodiversity by carrying out the following recommendations:

  • Take stock of existing courses with sustainability-related content and make the findings of these inventories a more accessible resource for student bodies.
  • Develop sustainability pathways -- clusters of courses and co-curricular activities with a common theme of sustainability that allow students to explore the theme from various disciplinary, methodological and practical perspectives.
  • Engage students in discussions on sustainability that recognize a diversity of perspectives and needs.

Secondly, working to reduce university-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the following recommendations:

  • Measure emissions from owned sources as well as purchased electricity, heat and steam; benchmark energy consumption and GHG emissions to determine where opportunities for improvement exist.
  • Commit to energy- and GHG-emission reduction targets and publish plans to meet these targets.
  • Review and evaluate progress toward GHG emission reduction targets to determine and communicate results to stakeholders.
  • Begin developing approaches to estimating, benchmarking and ultimately addressing Scope 3 emissions, such as business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, purchased goods and services.

Two American universities -- Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley -- are among the signatories.

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