HKU joins International Universities Climate Alliance

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has joined as a member of the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA), established to help communicate research insights on the most effective means to meet the unprecedented global challenge of climate change.

UNSW Sydney is facilitating the establishment of the Climate Alliance in its first year and to date has invited 40 of the world’s leading universities on climate research to join the Alliance. Alliance members are to 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.

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 focusing on 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, saying “This new Alliance will be at the forefront of the international conversation addressing climate change.”

Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, is most delighted to see HKU joining this international alliance. He regards the consortium a long-term capacity-building platform for researchers to exchange information concerning climate change and join hands to formulate solutions for this critical issue. “In HKU, we have very active research in ecology and biodiversity, in which the impacts driven by global warming are one of the key fields of study, in addition to our study on past climates and the phenomenon of climate change today in the field of Earth and planetary science. Our applied work on environmental change will definitely contribute to the research of this area, this is especially important in Southeast Asia where the situation is very acute,” said Professor Zhang.

“The University of Hong Kong supports the IUCA as a vehicle for promoting research into climate change and its effects. Our climate recognises no borders and so an international effort harnessing the innovative research of our universities to tackle critical issues such as greenhouse gas emissions is needed,” said Professor Matthew Evans, Dean of Science and Professor of Ecology, HKU.

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 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.”