COP26: a message from Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli, our Principal and Vice-Chancellor
In November, Glasgow will be the focal point of the world as global leaders from the spheres of politics, business, academia and even celebrity gather in the city to discuss and agree action to tackle climate change.
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) will hopefully create momentum for real change: to restore nature, reduce pollution and at the same time unleash economic growth.
And it’s taking place in a city that’s always embraced change. Glasgow thrived from industrialisation, but it was one of the first cities in the world to declare a climate emergency. It now aims to become the first net-zero emissions city in the UK.
In the same way that our industrial past has forged our heritage, so too can our net zero ambitions.
With COP26 we have an opportunity to leave a legacy on the city: with Glasgow gaining a reputation for its inclusive growth and just transition, where sustainability is placed at the heart of everything we do.
Since 1451, the University of Glasgow’s history has been intertwined with that of the city and its heritage and is now playing a major role in providing the skills, innovation, and leadership for future generations.
It is a responsibility we are proud to adopt. We have a clear strategy to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we have introduced changes to the curriculum and introduced new microcredentials to make sure students are exposed to carbon literacy and climate change, so they leave knowing the vital role they can play in their careers.
Two years ago, we set up the Centre for Sustainable Solutions to build collaborations between partners across Glasgow and Scotland and to put the University at the heart of the solution.
Scotland has a real competitive advantage in green and clean sectors - from renewable energy to digital innovation. In Glasgow, we’re home to Scotland’s 5G Centre and we’re at the cutting edge of new quantum technologies, health innovations, decarbonisation approaches and low carbon economies that can support the transition to net zero.
Climate change is a complex issue that cannot be solved by one institution alone. The COVID pandemic has shown society’s capability to respond rapidly and creatively to a pressing challenge. We have applied the same urgency to the climate crisis and are mounting a truly collaborative effort with other universities, the City Government, City Chambers, businesses, organisations and community groups.
As well as UofG representatives at the conference itself, our campus will be proud host to events, key speeches and debate around many aspects of the fair transition to a more sustainable world.