We announced in September 2019 that the University will be developing a Climate Action Framework. In October, we informed our community about the creation of two new roles to support this ambition.

Professor Pete Walker has been appointed to the senior role of Climate Action Framework Leader to progress this important initiative, following a competitive recruitment process.

The aim of the Framework will be reducing carbon emissions and contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, being clear on areas which will have the greatest impact. A Climate Action Framework Working Group will be established, with workstreams on research, learning and teaching, and University campus emissions reduction, as well as policy and practice.

The University of Bath has a strong track record in this area already. We were the first University to take part in the Carbon Trust’s Higher Education Carbon Management Scheme in 2003 and the University’s carbon emissions have gone down by 22 per cent since 2005. Emissions per square metre of building floor area were down 42 per cent over the same period.

In addition, our research makes a significant impact, for example our work with Ford Motor Company improved turbomachinery design and evaluation methods which contributed to a new engine design that saved 9% CO2 relative to the best-in-class engine at the time. These engines, which are now in production, deliver an annual cumulative CO2 saving significantly larger than the current total annual emissions for our University.

Professor Walker is a chartered civil engineer and a member of both the Institution of Engineers Australia and The Institution of Civil Engineers (UK). His current research interests include bio-based construction materials, centred on the development of low carbon technologies suitable for new and retrofitting applications. Since working at Bath, Pete Walker has also led research projects developing straw bale construction, hemp-lime construction, and innovative timber engineering.

Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) said:

I am delighted that Professor Walker is taking up this post, and the panel was impressed by his extensive research expertise and deep knowledge of the University. I have also been struck by the breadth of experience and level of commitment to this issue across our University community. We will be reaching out to colleagues and students, as I know there will be many colleagues who will want to support the development of this Framework. I very much look forward to working with Pete over the coming months.

Professor Pete Walker said:

I am very pleased to be offered this exciting new role. I look forward to working with colleagues and the wider university community over the coming months to develop a Climate Action Framework that will significantly further reduce our carbon emissions as well as looking at the contribution we can make through research and teaching.