On 8 October 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report. The scale and severity of human-caused climate change is beyond dispute. The IPCC report shows convincingly why we have to do everything we can to limit the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Following from this, researchers from many Dutch universities united in a so-called 'Climate letter', calling upon university management to develop and implement policies to drastically reduce the universities' carbon emissions, and is now signed by over 1300 researchers, professors and teachers.
Achieving this goal will require radical political, technological and social change on a global scale. Only an immediate global transition to a greener society without emissions can mitigate the catastrophic consequences that are expected. With having had a Climate March on March 10 in Amsterdam, the issue of climate change is a pressing and world wide topic.
Although many researchers at Dutch universities are active in the debate on climate change, our institutions themselves often have no ambitious climate agenda, and a common approach among universities is lacking. With this letter: "We call on our faculties and colleagues to make the fight against climate change visible in our own practice and to integrate it into education. In this, we follow the example of Danish colleagues, whose letter was signed by 600 scientists."
The IPCC report makes it clear that measures are needed at all levels: globally, nationally, privately, publicly and individually. Universities and research institutes must also take responsibility. There are three main reasons why universities should take the lead with an ambitious climate agenda.
Read more about this letter here.