UofG publishes "A Dear Green Place" - Towards a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan

The University has today published “A Dear Green Place” – Towards a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan for the University of Glasgow.

The proposed strategy, which has been agreed in principle by the University Court, follows the Principal’s declaration of a climate emergency in May 2019.

The climate emergency will be central to the University’s strategy over the next 20 years. A key aspect of our approach will be to engage the University community more effectively and enable everyone to play a part in combating climate change.

Dr David Duncan, Chief Operating Officer and co-chair of the University’s Sustainability Working Group, said: “I am delighted that the University Court has endorsed the position paper “A Dear Green Place – Towards a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan for the University of Glasgow”. In the New Year we will use this as the basis for a big, open conversation with all parties – all staff and students across the campuses – about how we address the climate emergency. We want as many people as possible to engage with this issue which is close to the hearts of all of us in the University of Glasgow.”

There are three main themes to the paper:

  • How we achieve “net zero” carbon emissions by 2035;
  • Engage our University community to enable everyone to make a difference;
  • Use our influence and expertise to address key global challenges.

Professor Dan Haydon, co-chair of the Sustainability Working Group, said: “To address the climate emergency we need to draw on the abundant commitment, creativity and expertise that is rife throughout the University. This document lays out a starting point for the urgent and important conversations we need to have across our campuses in order to devise a detailed, energised and imaginative pathway to greater sustainability in the short-term, and carbon neutrality by 2035.”

The paper proposes a series of actions under five headings:

  • Engaging and empowering our community;
  • Promoting efficiency;
  • Governance and policy;
  • Continuous improvement initiatives
  • Building resilience.

In the New Year, the University will launch a Centre for Sustainable Solutions - a new University-wide initiative forming a key part of the wider Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. The Centre will be launched early in 2020 and led by interim co-directors Professor Jaime L Toney (College of Science and Engineering) and Dr Mia Perry (College of Social Sciences).

Located in the Research and Innovation Office, this Centre will provide a resource, an infrastructure, and a think tank that will help to connect the creative energies within the University to the sustainability agenda. Importantly, it will provide a public interface and platform for both internal and external projects and partners.

The Centre for Sustainable Solutions aims to:

  1. enable the university to lead and be part of the current global movement calling for sustainable solutions across all sectors;
  2. support, publicly promote, and help to coordinate the activities of staff (research, teaching, and professional) and students around sustainability; and
  3. leverage funding and multi-sector partnerships for future calls related to the climate emergency.

SRC President Scott Kirby welcomed the strategy, saying: “It is incredibly exciting that the University is taking much more seriously its responsibilities to respond to the climate emergency and being more serious about sustainability. In terms of the development of the strategy it is early days and we need to make sure that it is right and that it matches to the values and expectations of students. There is a long way to go but this is the right first step.”


First published: 16 December 2019