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University of Hull signs UN carbon pledge as it strives for 2027 neutrality

13 November 2020

University of Hull signs UN carbon pledge as it strives for 2027 neutrality

The University of Hull has signed a global United Nations pledge to “race to carbon zero,” as it strives towards a carbon neutrality target of 2027.

The University has joined over 500 higher education institutions across the world in signing up to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) ‘Race To Zero.’

The campaign – which has gained support from almost 450 cities, 1,000 businesses and 38 of the world’s biggest investors – sees organisations commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, or 2050 at the latest.

The University of Hull last year announced its own carbon neutral ambition, in time for the University’s centenary anniversary in 2027.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “In signing this pledge, the University has joined a global movement towards a carbon neutral future.

“As a University, we are committed to becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2027. We hope joining the UN’s ‘Race to Zero’ builds on the positive work already underway, and provides a catalyst for some significant strides forward towards our goal.

“As a leading stakeholder and research institution in the Humber region, the University has a hugely important role to play in helping communities on both sides of the estuary decarbonise the entire region and become net-zero by 2040.”

In November next year, the UK will play host to the major 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, known as COP26.Scheduled to take place in Glasgow, COP26 will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

It is hoped that, ahead of COP26, the majority of UK universities will have signed the Global Climate Letter.

In signing the letter – as the University of Hull has done – higher education institutions commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 (or 2050 at the latest), expanding resources for climate change research, and increasing the delivery of sustainability education across the curriculum.

Professor Dan Parsons, Director at the University’s Energy & Environment Institute, said: “The threat posed by climate change is an existential one – not just an economic challenge – for all of us.

“The work we need to do, as we transition our whole economy and society to net-zero, is the greatest challenge we have ever faced.

“At the University of Hull, we have gained world-renowned expertise in the fields of low-carbon energy, climate and environmental resilience. In announcing our 2027 carbon neutral ambition last year, we are committed to playing our part in the decarbonisation of our region and planet – acting as both thought and action leaders in this critical area.”

The ‘Race To Zero’ aims to show governments that businesses, cities, regions, investors and universities are united in meeting the Paris goals, set at COP21 in 2015, and creating a more inclusive and resilient economy.

At its launch in June 2020, the ‘Race To Zero’ had already mobilised a coalition of leading net-zero initiatives, representing 449 cities, 21 regions, 995 businesses, 38 of the biggest investors, and 505 universities, providing coverage of 53% of GDP (23% CO2).

The ambition is to reach coverage of 70% of the world’s total GDP by COP26 in November 2021.

The University of Hull’s vision to become carbon neutral by 2027 is currently being mapped out in a detailed strategic masterplan in partnership with Siemens.

Siemens was commissioned by the University to undertake and co-create a new energy strategy and net-zero energy plan, including a rigorous evaluation of its energy consumption, focused on reducing emissions and finding new, renewable ways to power the campus.

Work on the strategy started in late June. Once completed in early 2021, it will present a detailed roadmap of how the University will achieve carbon neutral status by 2027.

The University of Hull will achieve carbon neutrality through a variety of ways. As well as making energy savings and efficiencies across its existing infrastructure, the University will also seek new, renewable ways to power its campus.

Further work will be doing on reducing water consumption, cutting down on single-use plastics, and encouraging staff and students to make sustainable travel choices.

More details on the University’s 2027 ambition can be found here: https://www.hull.ac.uk/special/carbon-neutral.

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