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New report urges universities to have zero carbon emissions and to rethink teaching practices for climate change

Keri Facer

Press release issued: 15 December 2020

A new report by Cabot Institute member, Professor Keri Facer, outlines how universities and colleges can help lead the UK's strategy for tackling climate change.

The report written by Professor Keri Facer (Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the School of Education, University of Bristol), Beyond business as usual: Higher education in the era of climate changehas been published today (10 December 2020) in The Higher Education Policy Institute and The Times Higher Education.

Drawing on powerful case studies and a robust analytical framework, Professor Keri Facer presents recommendations for how policymakers, staff and students can approach the ‘wicked problem’ of climate change. 

Professor Keri Facer, author of the report, said, "Universities and colleges are the UK’s critical learning infrastructure – they help us think our way out of problems, invent new ways of living and adapt to change. We need urgently to harness these resources to help us, as a society, transition towards more sustainable futures.

We need a massive, nationwide programme of learning and innovation to help us transition – in our infrastructure, our way of life, our food systems and our values – towards a society that can survive well in conditions of significant climate disruption. For that, we need to mobilise our universities, our colleges and our great national educational institutions like the BBC.

It’s time we gave up on the idea that going to university is just about preparation for a business as usual economy – that is not going to ensure our young people survive and thrive in the future. We need our universities and colleges to be helping students imagine and create different futures that are not dependent upon fantasies of endless economic growth and ecological extraction.

The Government urgently needs to get its house in order in terms of its climate credentials. It will host the COP26 in Glasgow next year and needs to give a strong example of how it is leading the world in climate action. One way to do this would be through a Green Livelihoods Transition Programme that provides free university and college to adults that lets them transition away from high-carbon employment to imagine and create sustainable livelihoods.

If the Government wants to level up, it needs to invest in the people of deindustrialised towns and cities to ensure that they have educational opportunities, by creating new centres for green innovation and skills. To do this – you need to get the universities and the colleges on board". 

Further information

Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) - New report urges universities to have zero carbon emissions by 2035 and to rethink knowledge and teaching practices for the era of climate change

The Times Higher Education - Going global needn’t mean racking up air miles, universities told

Follow Professor Keri Facer on Twitter

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