Climate Commission Updates

The Climate Commission for UK College and University Students and Leaders was launched in November 2019 with the aim to produce a clear, consistent and cohesive response to the Climate Emergency. The short term Climate Commission will develop an Action Plan in response to the government’s stated climate emergency and draw together a strategic sector-wide approach to the Climate Framework by the end of 2020. 

On this page, you can find regular updates on the Commission's work. Contact to sign-up for monthly email updates. 

Click here for August 2020 updates
Click here for July 2020 Updates
Click here for June 2020 Updates
Click here for May 2020 Updates
Click here for April 2020 Updates
Click here for March 2020 Updates
Click here for February 2020 Updates
Click here for January 2020 Updates

Follow our progress on social media! Search the hashtag #EduClimateCommission on Twitter and Linkedin for updates.

September 2020 Updates
  • This thought piece from Professor Joy Carter, CBE, DL, Vice-Chancellor at University of Winchester and Climate Commissioner forms a helpful baseline of the values and responses that run deep in Gen Z and therefore brings great value in understanding – and therefore helping to shape – young people’s opinions.
  • Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor at University of Winchester and Climate Commissioner is speaking at the AUDE Future of the University Estate on Mobilising the higher education sector on climate change for the future on 6th October.
  • The Commission has announced it will launch an HE Climate Action Toolkit, building off the work of its FE Climate Action Roadmap. 
  • The Climate Commission Podcast, Climate Chats with Students released 4 new podcasts chatting students from the University of Edinburgh and Keele University 
  • The Climate Commission Secretariat has released the 2nd blog post in its series. This post covers priority 2: research and innovation and offers insights from Climate Commissioners Judith Petts and Marta Crispo. Read the post here

August 2020 Updates

  • The Commission has released a document outlining its findings to date.

  • The Commission held an online event, "Discussion with Further and Higher Education Governors and Chairs" to understand the opportunities to and challenges of advancing climate action and sustainability at the board level. More information on the event here.  Watch the event recording here

July 2020 Updates
  • The Climate Commission, in partnership with Nous Group, has launched the Climate Action Roadmap for FE Colleges. The Roadmap provides clear, feasible actions colleges can take to advance sustainability. This piece of work will act as one of the Commission's key outputs. 
    • Download the Roadmap here 
    • Watch Climate Commissioner Steve Frampton announce the launch of the roadmap here 
    • Read the Association of Colleges news item on the launch here 
    • Download the press release here 
    • Read EAUC's news item on the launch here 
  • The UK Climate Commission was presented to the global Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) event at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on 15 July 2020.
  • The College of the Future vision was launched on 22nd July. Steve Frampton, AoC President and Climate Commissioner said “The Climate Commission welcomes the report today from the Independent Commission on the College of the Future. The new vision for colleges puts sustainability and climate action at the very heart of the role of colleges, ensuring that colleges provide future students with the education and skills they need to tackle the climate crisis. The Climate Action Roadmap for Further Education Colleges, from the Climate Commission, provides colleges with the framework to help them achieve this.”

  June 2020 Updates  
  • Student Commissioners have been awarded honorary fellowships by EAUC in recognition of their commitment to tackling the climate crisis and their time and contribution to the Climate Commission's work. Read more about the honorary fellowships here
  • Student Commissioners have a launched a survey to better engage with students. 
  • Alex Bols - Deputy CEO, Guild HE and Climate Commission Steering Group member has written a blog on what we want the new normal to look at
  • Fiona Goodwin - Direction of Operations & Planning, EAUC and Climate Commission Steering Group member presented at the Universities Scotland International Committee Workshop to provide an update on the work of the Climate Commission. 
  • The Climate Commission Secretariat has written a blog post about the Commission's first priority, "mobilising the higher and further education sector voice" on Wonkhe. The post is one in a series of 5 synthesising and unpacking discussions on the Commission's priorities. 

May 2020 Updates

  • Student Commissioners will facilitate focus groups for UNESCO's Futures of Education to ensure students on the Commission can contribute and impact global education policy. Read more about the initiative here.  
  • Climate Commissioner Steve Frampton (AoC President) has voiced his support for the new collaboration between Nous Group and the Climate Commission. Read his statement here.
  • Nous Group has published a news item on their collaboration with the Climate Commission  
  • Research Professional has published Commissioner Judith Petts' (Vice-Chancellor of University of Plymouth and UUK representative) piece about how universities' responses to COVID-19 can inform how they tackle the climate crisis, in which she mentions the Climate Commission's work. 
  • Commissioner Steve Frampton (President, AoC) discussed the Climate Commission's work and project with Nous Group at AoC's spring Policy Forum
  • Professor James Longhurst spoke as a panelist on the UUKi seminar, "Is it possible to have a green international strategy?" At the event, Professor Longhurst represented the Commission and touched on topics that will be addressed by the Commission. 

April 2020 Updates

  • The Climate Commission drafted a response to the postponement of COP26 due to COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging the importance of reducing the severity of the outbreak and emphasising its continued commitment to tackling the climate crisis:

  • The 3rd Virtual Evidence Gathering Event took place on April 29th. The event was focused on priority 3: reporting scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in the FHE sector. Student commissioners included a question in the briefing paper for expert witnesses: "How can GHG reporting be made accessible to students to enable them to support the institution to become more sustainable?"
  • The Climate Commission has organised two further virtual events following the Virtual Evidence Gathering Events. The purpose of the events is to discuss with leaders in the FHE sector on the Commission's findings and progress to ensure its work is relevant and beneficial to the sector. 
  • The Climate Commission has partnered with Nous Group to produce a roadmap providing guidance to UK colleges on how to address the climate crisis. Learn more about the initiative here. 
  • The Climate Commission was mentioned in a blog post by Lucian J. Hudson (Chair of Earthwatch Europe) published on HEPI
  • The Climate Commission has partnered with Nous Group to produce a roadmap providing guidance to UK colleges on how to address the climate crisis. Learn more about the initiative here. 
  • Commissioner Professor James Longhurst (Assistant Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of England) has published articles on the Commission and how the FHE sector can tackle the climate crisis. Read the articles here.

March 2020 Updates

The Climate Commissioners have been consulting with the Council on a draft statement on offsetting for the sector. The Climate Commission will develop additional guidance for institutions on offsetting taking on the comments from the Council. This will be shared with the Council in due course.
Using the statement, the Climate Commission partner organisations (AoC, EAUC, GuildHE & UUK) will now continue this dialogue and consensus building with their memberships.

Offsetting Statement

"The Climate Commission believes offsetting should be seen as a last resort for residual emissions where all other possible action has been taken using the principles of the Carbon Management Hierarchy of avoid, reduce, replace and offset. The Climate Commission foresee that offsetting will have a role as the sector moves towards net-zero emissions. The Climate Commission consider that offsetting may be higher in the early stages where institutions have ambitious targets but would expect these to scale down as measures are implemented and institutions move from net zero to zero emissions”.    

February 2020 Updates

The Climate Commissioners had a planning meeting on 11th February. Along with the Institutional Commissioners we welcomed the Student Commissioners to the group. Each partner organisation as a Student Commissioner as well as an Institutional Commissioner. This is to ensure that the student voice is at the heart of the Climate Commission.

Our Student Commissioners are:
  • Amy Brazier & Joshua Setford, Students, Portsmouth College, AoC representatives
  • Manveer Gill, Undergraduate, University of Warwick & EAUC representative
  • Florence Barrett, Undergraduate, Plymouth Marjon University, GuildHE representative
  • Marta Crispo, PhD Researcher, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Sheffield, UUK representative  

Manveer says, “The Climate Commission has the potential to spark a collaborative sector-wide response to the climate emergency. By including students at every step, the Commission can create a strategy that unites all major stakeholders in our efforts to mitigate climate change.” 
The Commissioners discussed the 5 priorities in further detail in preparation for the virtual evidence gathering events. As a reminder please book onto the events here.

January 2020 Updates

  • Climate Commissioners Judith Petts and Manveer Gill attended the recent launch of the UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) that the UK are hosting in Glasgow in November
  • Iain Patton and Chris Hale, Climate Commission Steering Group, presented to Universities UK staff to ensure they are all familiar with the work of the Climate Commission
  • EAUC Trustee, Eunice Simmons, was a keynote speaker at Advance HE conference and highlighted the work of the Climate Commission
  • EAUC Trustee and Climate Commissioner, Jim Longhurst was a keynote speaker at Advance HE’s STEM  conference in Manchester on 20th January 2020 and highlighted the work of the Climate Commission.
  • Student Commissioners have been appointed to work alongside the institutional Commissioners. This reflects equality within the Climate Commission and the determination to listen to students and ensure we have clear and cohesive actions.  
  • We are delighted to announce more institutions have now joined the Climate Commission Council – we have 85 in total with 61 institutional leaders and 24 students making up the Council
  • We have provided free Carbon Literacy training to students from the Council. They are now empowered and equipped to influence their fellow students as well as senior management within their institution
  • We have agreed the vision and mission as well as a Target Statement for the Climate Commission so we have a clear way ahead
  • We have listed the top priorities for the Climate Commission
  • We will have 5 virtual evidence gathering events over the coming 6 months for the sector to input into. Please book your place now.
  • Progress continues on our Scope 3 work and you can find out more about this here. We will soon be launching:
    • a sector wide programme for Carbon Literacy training.
    • a travel tool to assist with conscious travel decisions.
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