The Climate Commission - One Year On

One year on, The Climate Commission for UK Further and Higher Education Students and Leaders presented outcomes to Government, leaders, students and the wider educational sector

Thursday 5th November (2020) marked one year since the launch of The Climate Commission for UK Further and Higher Education Students and Leaders – the cross organisational initiative led by the Association of Colleges, EAUC (Secretariat), GuildHE and Universities UK.

The event attended by over 80 Climate Commissioners, Council, Expert Witnesses, students and observers also included a special address from The Rt. Hon. The Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change who said:

“What the pandemic has done was to make more and more people recognise that there are systemic risks in terms of climate change that need to be addressed as a matter of priority. The Committee for Climate Change Sixth Carbon Budget (developed within the 2% GDP) although believed to be tough and needing to achieve a lot it is feasible, financeable, and necessary to combat the effects of the climate change. To achieve this, students have a core role in their guarding roles within student bodies and educational institutions but should “walk the walk” and prioritise their own consumption habits to ensure their purchases are as sustainable as possible. If enough students would adopt this mindset, their power of influence in changing behaviours would be massive in terms of emissions reduction. And although this is of crucial importance, it needs to be pointed out that these changes are achievable without living our lives in misery, in cold homes, with no electricity or limited food, but instead to ensure we all live more reasonably and within what the planet is offering.

Finally, we must look at climate change as a symptom of what we’ve done to the world, including the way we used our resources, the social and financial gap, so the transition needs to be towards a different world and the Covid19 pandemic can help shape this new normal where purposes are being reconsidered and where revolutionary change can happen without the repercussions of bloodshed. I am very impressed with what students are doing through the work of the Climate Commission, and I want to encourage that this work is being continued and implemented by institutions alongside their communities to ensure a thorough inclusion.”

The Climate Commission work would not be possible without the valued contribution that it receives from the Student Commissioners. Manveer Gill and Marta Crispo, two of the Student Commissioners who attended the event outlined that the climate crisis is the defining challenge of their lives and it would be hard to stand by and watch. Both outlined that the Climate Commission gave an important voice to students like them to become co-creators in developing critical resources to assist universities and colleges to respond to the climate emergency regardless of where they are on their sustainability agenda.


And while what has been achieved so far by the Climate Commission is impressive, across the board it was reiterated how important it was to continue this work even more vividly by enthusing and enabling leadership such as Vice-Chancellors and Principals to work in partnership to meet their net-zero targets. It is also important to recognise that a lot of institutions in the UK and Ireland are still emergent in the climate debate, so as a group the Climate Commission should assist these institutions in their journeys to limit the impact of the climate crisis by adapting sustainability initiatives.

One of the plenaries at The Global Climate Conference in Education (Thursday 19th November 11:05 – 11:45) will give an insight into how the model adopted to develop this initiative could now be replicated across the world to bring about real change in the education sector.

Come and learn more about the latest evidence to date from the Climate Commission and a chance to debate what barriers exist for institutions to achieving net-zero and the actions that these key agencies can do to help support the sector.

Find out more about the Climate Commission for UK Further and Higher Education Students and Leaders here.


Delivered by EAUC