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UK lecturers want greater involvement in university climate efforts

published 3 July 2008 updated 3 July 2008

The University and College Union (UCU) is congratulating UK universities that are doing the most to combat climate change, but is still urging all universities to step up the involvement of staff and students in their efforts. The union has called for a carbon reduction strategy on every campus based on university consultation with staff unions and student representatives.

UCU was responding to the Green League table published by the student campaigning organisation, People and Planet. UCU represents lecturers and researchers in all subjects, including climate and environmental science. It believes that the involvement of the whole campus community is vital if higher education is to set an example of how to develop low-carbon ways of operating. Roger Kline, head of employment rights at UCU, said: “People and Planet and its student activists are to be congratulated for their continuing pressure on higher education to improve environmental performance. Many universities are responding and UCU congratulates them, but progress is patchy. “To create a carbon reduction strategy on every campus the support of the workforce and students is essential. The greatest progress will come from strategies developed with the input of staff and students, and where there is a sense of shared ownership of the process and proposed actions.” People and Planet are calling for full support from all the sector's stakeholders, and the UCU echoes their call.

“We are keen to play our role in encouraging colleagues to act on climate change,” Kline said. “Our local representatives want to engage with employers to explore ideas for greener ways of working and travelling to work. We also want to bring climate awareness into every corner of the curriculum.” “Universities can lead the way on tackling climate change if they involve all the talents available to them,” Kline added. For more information on UCU policy and action on the environment and climate change, please visit their website.

To see how the various universities are ranked in terms of combating climate change, visit peopleandplanet.org.