The University of Southampton’s commitment to accelerating global action on climate change has been confirmed after becoming a founding member of a new International Universities Climate Alliance to help communicate research insights on the most effective means to meet the unprecedented global challenge of 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.
Founded and facilitated by UNSW Sydney in Australia, the Climate Alliance involves 40 of the world’s leading climate research universities invited to work together to identify the most effective ways to communicate research-based facts related to climate change to the public. Members, including a significant number of Southampton’s own international strategic partners will engage in work across climate change science, impact, mitigation strategies and adaptation.
The Alliance benefits from a multi-disciplinary research focus around the most important research themes like Southampton’s own approach, to enable greater engagement with policymakers, educators and business leaders looking to apply the latest research findings to accelerate climate action.
Southampton’s invitation to join the Climate Alliance demonstrates an international recognition of the University’s strength and commitment to deploying its multi-disciplinary expertise in research, education and other activities to focus on the causes and potential alleviation of the effects of climate change. This commitment drives the University forward to take sustainable steps to address urgent environmental issues using the passion, creativity and scholarship of students and staff to discover and adopt new, lasting solutions.
Professor Mark E Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: “The University of Southampton is recognised as an important global contributor into the research underpinning climate change and evidence as to how we should modify the way we live. It was great to be asked to be part of such a powerful consortium of universities across the world.”
Professor Rachel Mills, the University’s Dean of Environmental and Life Sciences, added: “As the University’s Sustainability Champion, I am proud to represent us in this new Alliance. We will be drawing on the expertise, creativity and passion of our staff and students right the way across the Institution to collectively address this urgent priority for global society.”
Membership of the Climate Alliance comprises a global network of universities, united by their dedication to producing critical climate research from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.
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, saying “This new Alliance will be at the forefront of the international conversation around addressing climate change.”
Professor Matthew England, academic lead of the UNSW Climate Change Grand Challenge, hopes this Alliance will encourage a new era in engagement between researchers and the public; “Worldwide interest to act on climate change is strong but the pace of action has been far too slow. The Alliance aims to accelerate the global response by being a leading voice for scientifically based mitigation and adaptation strategies.”