Polar bear sow and cub walk on ice floe in Norwegian arctic waters [Photo: Shutterstock]

Spotlight on climate change research

UofG projects that are making a difference

At UofG, we’re not just talking about reversing climate change – we are taking action. Our research into tackling global warming, pioneering green technology and promoting sustainability is world leading, and the COP26 climate change conference being hosted in Glasgow this November will present even greater opportunities for us working together to find climate solutions. We align our research with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals – 17 objectives adopted by all UN member states in 2015 as part of a 15-year plan of ambitious action. They are a blueprint for all countries to end poverty and bring peace and prosperity to the planet.

Here is just a small selection of our recent research activities that are making a difference, along with the SDGs that each one addresses.

Letting nature heal itself

Could allowing nature the chance to regenerate be the best solution of all to climate change? UofG professors Nick Hanley and Larissa Naylor have co-authored a report by the COP26 Universities Network on how working with nature can benefit people, biodiversity and the planet, and could address many of the critical environmental challenges that we face.

When we think of nature-based solutions, large-scale tree-planting may be the first thing to come to mind; however, the report stresses the role of marine habitats and the crucial need for biodiversity. “Nature-based, green engineering projects like the enhancement and protection of coastal landforms including saltmarshes and sand dunes, must be placed at the heart of long-term investment strategies,” says Larissa.

In the UK, environments such as peatlands, arable landscapes and urban green spaces all have the potential to deliver nature-based solutions. While not a substitute for the overriding priority of reducing fossil fuel consumption, these schemes to capture carbon and increase biodiversity have huge potential in tackling the climate crisis.

The report suggests the creation of novel habitats in urban areas. At UofG, we constructed green screens – fences made of ivy which can trap pollutants and reduce flooding risk – as part of our campus development. The result is a reduction of up to 40% of particulate matter in the air.

SDG logos for SDGs 9, 11 and 13