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

An international coalition of leading climate research universities, including Monash University, has issued its first declaration ahead of the G20 Summit on 21 and 22 November 2020. 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.

The International Universities Climate Alliance was founded in April 2020 with 48 universities spanning 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 Climate Alliance launched its first declaration in a media event with a panel of speakers from Asia Pacific university members, including Associate Professor David Holmes from Monash University, the Founder and Director of the Climate Change Communications Research Hub.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said universities had some of the world’s greatest research looking at how to tackle climate change and make real change.

“At Monash, we have broad and diverse climate expertise across our research disciplines who can contribute valuable insights to the global conversations about this vitally important issue,” Professor Gardner said.

“We are pleased to be part of the Climate Alliance, which aligns with Monash’s own sustainability objectives, including our Net Zero Initiative and commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

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,” he said.

The International Universities Climate Alliance (Climate Alliance), was founded by UNSW Sydney in partnership with 48 universities with exceptional climate research credentials. The Climate Alliance aims to be a global source of trusted communication for research-based facts on climate change science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation.

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.