The ‘Greenhouse Effect’ is where greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) absorb reflected solar energy, heating the lower atmosphere and the surface of the planet. Without this effect, our planet would be hostile to life.
The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more solar energy is absorbed and the warmer the planet gets. By burning fossil fuels, and cutting down trees that remove carbon dioxide, we are increasing the gases in the atmosphere. Since 1750, carbon dioxide levels have risen 30%; melting ice-caps, raising sea-levels, effecting seasons and causing more extreme events.
In 2019 the United Nations (UN) declared a climate emergency. Facing catastrophic change to our climate and environment, the UN warned that everyone must work to reverse the damage we have inflicted on our planet and the place we all call home. Climate action is everyone’s responsibility and the immediacy to act is at tipping point. If we don’t act immediately, by the end of the century we will warm the world by at least 3C. This would cause more severe flooding, pollution, bush fires, extreme weather, and destruction of species.
The Time is Now
This November, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. This international conference will bring together experts and leaders from all nations to agree on the direction and actions we have to take to avoid a climate crisis. The summit aims to build on and accelerate action towards the goal of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change.
The success of COP26 will be critical in creating the ambition and action we need to prevent global temperatures rising above 1.5C and to protect our planet and people from the intensifying impact of climate change. The time for action is now.
We All Must Act
Here at Greenwich, we have an important role in helping the world understand and solve the issues it faces. We champion climate action and believe every university has a part to play in sustainable teaching. Ranked as a ‘First Class University’ by People and Planet along with our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, we actively lead and engage to have a lasting positive legacy. Our decisions are set through the lens of sustainability and climate responsibility. We need to inspire, and be inspired by our students and staff to become part of the solution.
We have joined the COP26 Universities Network, and have signed the Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges committing to going net-zero.
Share your expertise
We will be hosting a series of events to discuss and highlight climate action leading up to COP26. We believe that both larger and small actions are needed, and by us all. We call for everyone to make a change to achieve a healthier planet.
We encourage our students, academics and professional staff to get involved. If you have a project/research area/made improvements in work and would like us to highlight your positive contributions, please click here and complete this form. Once complete, please get in touch, attaching the form so we can add it to our growing sustainable hub of resources. It will be made publicly available, and shared across our social media channels. Click here if you would prefer a one page form.
The UK Government has shared where they will invest their efforts during the months up to COP26 taking four key goals to governments across the world. Whether you are making individual or collaborative action, only by coming together can we prevent climate change, and by doing so create a better place for ourselves, communities, nations and natural environment to thrive. What will your legacy hold?