#PlanetPartners: Climate change research, communication and campus sustainability put Reading at forefront of climate action
21 May 2021
Improving understanding of climate change and leading action to tackle it is a key strength of the University of Reading, and one that feeds directly into global efforts to reduce emissions and avoid damaging climate impacts.
The University’s institutional and research efforts are underpinned by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aimed at tackling societal and environmental challenges across the planet and are closely aligned with the University’s own strategy.
This May, the University of Reading is running a new #PlanetPartners campaign, inviting its entire community to share examples of work towards all the SDGs.
SDG13: Climate Action works towards combatting climate change and its impacts around the world, through developing green economies, advancing knowledge of how the world is being affected by emissions, and reducing carbon footprints.
Reading ranked 91 out of 566 participating institutions globally in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2021, and 15 out of 33 in the UK.
“My colleagues and I are proud to work for a university that not only leads the research agenda on the climate crisis but is also making big strides in reducing our own carbon footprint and helping adaptation in our local community." - Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, Head of Department of Meteorology
Examples of work by the University to address SDG13 include:
- Contributing the largest number of scientists to the first working group of the latest IPCC assessment report, due to be published in summer 2021, and being recognised as home to some of the world’s most influential climate change researchers.
- Hosting world-leading research into climate change and its effects on the planet in our renowned Department of Meteorology. Studies have included analysis of wildfire management, sea level rise and the significance of different greenhouse gas emissions.
- Leading impactful studies, such as recent research that revealed airlines could cut emissions by altering their flight paths depending on jet stream currents being followed by an announcement by air traffic controller NATS that it would be trialling such a system.
- Pioneering new ways of engaging the public in climate action through universally appealing climate change artwork, communicating risks to policymakers using a ‘storylines’ approach, and exploring environmental themes through art.
- Contributing climate research to projects such as the newly-established £10m UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, and via the Walker Institute to NGOs and government agencies and direct to farmers to help build climate-resilient societies around the world.
- Achieving the biggest proportional carbon reduction of any research-intensive university in the UK since from 2008 to 2020. This is one example of a range of sustainability efforts on campus, which have taken another major step forward in 2021.
- Playing a leading role in efforts to tackle climate change locally, including supporting Reading Borough Council’s Climate Emergency work, and carrying out the biggest ever assessment of climate change health impacts in the region.
- Joining forces with other universities through the COP26 Universities Network to create momentum and public interest around climate action ahead of the international climate summit in Glasgow this November.
- Offering students in all subjects the opportunity to learn about the latest climate science, through a module taught by the University’s IPCC lead authors.
Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez, Head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, said: “Climate research at Reading runs from the detailed theoretical understanding of the physical processes driving the climate system all the way to work with those whose lives and livelihoods are already being shaped by changes to extreme weather events.
“My colleagues and I are proud to work for a university that not only leads the research agenda on the climate crisis but is also making big strides in reducing our own carbon footprint and helping adaptation in our local community.
“We are excited to train the next generation of climate scientists and leaders through our undergraduate, masters and research student courses.”
The UN’s SDGs incorporate themes across the ‘five Ps’: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace and Partnership. These align with the University of Reading’s own strategic themes: Community, Excellence, Sustainability and Engagement.
This campaign follows the publication of the THE Impact Rankings 2021, in which Reading participated for the first time and ranked in the top 200 globally, which scored participating universities on their support of the individual SDGs.
The University’s latest campaign is a continuation of the #PlanetPartners campaign launched by the University in October 2019, which is highlighting ways the University is working with global partners on projects that benefit the environment.
Follow the campaign and share your examples of work on Twitter: @UniofReading | Facebook: /theuniversityofreading | Instagram: @uniofreading | LinkedIn: University of Reading | TikTok: @uniofreading using the hashtags #PlanetPartners and #sdgoals