UCU Statement on Student Climate Emergency Action

On 8th October 2018, the IPCC released a landmark report on restricting global average temperature increases to 1.5oC. The report’s key finding is that our society will need to undergo “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects” in order to achieve this goal, and it outlines the potentially devastating consequences of an average temperature rise above 1.5 oC, even if it remains below the Paris Agreement’s headline goal of 2oC.

One month later, Bristol City Council became the first of many to declare a state of Climate Emergency in response to the report’s findings, and committed to achieving type 3 carbon neutrality citywide by 2030. This action is a significant step toward meeting the IPCC’s recommendation that global net emissions be cut by 45% before 2030, as part of a pathway to global net carbon neutrality by 2050. On Sunday 13th January, students at the University of Warwick launched a campaign to commit the university to these same goals.

As a regional and national leader, our university has a duty both to take responsibility for the consequences of its actions and to pioneer efforts to meet the scale of the challenge facing us. We cannot stand idly by and leave this, the most pressing issue of our time, unaddressed.

We, the Warwick branch of the University and College Union, believe that the goals of climate justice, social justice and educational leadership are tightly bound together. We see the university’s responsibilities as non-negotiable in this regard. We therefore stand in solidarity with the Climate Emergency campaign and fully support students’ calls for a carbon neutral university by no later than 2030.

We will in all capacities assist and support the student campaign, and call on the university to recognise and support its objectives. We call, too, on our members and our partners to do all they can to support this cause.

There is no reasonable alternative to taking action today. We will be collectively judged on the urgency and effectiveness of our response.