COP26 results: Universities around the world commit to climate protection

Delegierte im Plenarsaal der COP26 Klimakonferenz der Vereinten Nationen in Glasgow

Universities around the world have committed to reducing their CO2 emissions. This became known during the opening of the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, “University World News” reported on Saturday. Accordingly, 1,050 universities in 68 countries have pledged to halve their emissions by 2030 and reach zero net by 2050 at the latest. These include 334 institutes from USA, 216 from India and 125 from United Kingdom. Germany comprises five universities: the Free University of Berlin, the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, the Catholic University of Eichstadt-Ingolstadt, RWTH Aachen and TU Dortmund.

Over the past year, the institutes have joined the so-called “Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges” – a global campaign for climate protection measures in the education sector. It is led by the “Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education” (EAUC) and “Second Nature”, two non-governmental organizations supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). According to the report, they are relying on universities’ standards in terms of climate protection and sustainability in a “green transition”, exemplified far from their campus. The pioneers expect other universities to join the initiative in the coming months. They want to check regularly whether the universities keep their promises.

According to the report, the Japanese Chiba University of Commerce and the Scottish University of Glasgow have set themselves particularly ambitious goals: Chiba University of Commerce wants to be the first university in Japan to work exclusively with renewable energy by 2025 and One will establish renewable energy. Energy University League of Japan; The University of Glasgow wants to reach net zero by 2030 and also become the first British university to part with fossil fuels within a decade.

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Coalitions and Initiatives to Meet the Paris Climate Goals and Beyond

A university alliance with more far-reaching goals was announced by UNEP and the University of Oxford just ahead of COP26: a global “coalition of nature-positive universities”. It is scheduled to launch formally next year; IPB University in Indonesia, University of Cape Town, Universidad de So Paulo, University of Ghana and University of Tasmania are already on the board. According to the report, the initiative aims to show how universities can reduce their impact on nature by relocating supply chains and restoring local landscapes.

According to media reports, during the climate conference in Glasgow, a whole range of new alliances were formed between states, companies and/or scientific institutions that want to together promote climate protection. For example, the governments of 22 countries and the European Union Commission have come together in a “Mission Innovation” to promote new technologies for the energy transition. The “Adaption Research Alliance” (ARA) – an international consortium of communities, research institutions and governments including Great Britain and Canada – also seeks to make places particularly vulnerable to climate change more resilient and adaptable to the consequences of climate change.

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