Student Climate Commissioners Publish COY16 Student Statement

The Student Commissioners of the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education have published their COY16 Student Statement. Supported by the Student Commissioners experiences to date and with input and feedback from student focus groups, the COY16 Student Statement includes nine demands to address identified gaps or issues within the UK FHE sector in tackling the climate and ecological emergency. This Statement represents the views of the Student Commissioners and student signatories only.
The full statement can be viewed here.

Why students deserve a voice

According to National Life Tables, an 18-year old starting college or university this year can expect to live on average for another 60 years. Based on the latest research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UK’s Met Office, the Committee on Climate Change recognises that under most global emissions pathways it is likely to be inevitable that the UK will experience:

- a further 0.6C of warming by the mid-2050s;
- between 3 - 37cm further sea-level rise by 2060;
- a 10% increase in UK heavy rainfall compared to present by 2050;
- a 50% chance each year of a heatwave by 2050.

As a result, todays and tomorrows students - and future institutional staff -will be forced to live in an increasingly destabilised climate, with both direct and indirect consequences to this.
Furthermore, in 2019/20 there were 5.1 million students enrolled at colleges or universities within the UK, representing 7% of the UK’s total population and 12% of its economically active population(defined as ages 16 - 64) at that time. The skills, knowledge and values developed by each student cohort through education will have significant implications on the capacity of society and workplaces to adapt to climate change.

Student perspective of the issues and gaps

Two clear issues and gaps emerged at a sector-level through the student focus groups:
  • Absence of mandatory college and university regulations for climate action and sustainable development.
  • Absence of taught climate education within colleges, universities and communities​.
Whilst it was recognised that best practice exists in both these areas, it is often isolated to a small group of institutions.


The Statement covers nine core demands defined under Regulatory Action and Non-Regulatory Action. The nine demands are:
  1. Mandatory Emissions Reporting for all Colleges and Universities.
  2. Mandatory Climate Education and Embedding of Education for Sustainable Development Within Curriculum.
  3. Government Home Improvement Schemes To Be Based On Council Tax Bands and Provide Support For Students
  4. Student Engagement in Sustainability Target Setting and Delivery
  5. Improving Access to Education Through Technology
  6. Capital Building Projects - Fabric-First and Passivhaus
  7. Partnerships and Funding - Net Zero
  8. Partnerships and Funding - Research
  9. Partnerships and Funding - Learning, Teaching and Research

Details of each demand can be viewed in the Statement.

Next Steps - Student Signatories

Are you a student? Do you want to have your student voice heard and be represented at COY16 and COP26? You can add your signature to this statement here.
COY16 is the official route for youth engagement and representation at COP26, facilitated by YOUNGO. If you are a student and support this statement and demands, please sign using the link above and submit your name, institution and your student email address to confirm you are a student.
This statement alongside the student signatories will be sent to the UK COY16 Youth Delegates in October ahead of COY16 on the 28th– 31st October 2021.
On behalf of the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Student Commissioners: 

Thank you for your support.
  - Amy Brazier, Katie Major, Marta Crispo and Manveer Gill
     Student Climate Commissioners
Delivered by EAUC