In line with its mission, the University firmly respects scientific evidence and recognises that the need is clear for urgent action across society to tackle dangerous, anthropogenic climate change, from governments and businesses to public sector organisations and charities like universities.

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian White, has today announced that the University will develop a new Climate Action Framework, following agreement from the University’s Executive Board. 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.

The University of Bath has a strong track record in this area already. We can be proud of our relevant research across our Faculties and School, and the impact of this work. Highlighting one example in the Faculty of Engineering & Design, our work with Ford Motor Company improved turbomachinery design and evaluation methods. This 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.

In terms of our carbon emissions on campus, we were the first University to take part in the Carbon Trust’s Higher Education Carbon Management Scheme in 2003. Our teams in Estates and Accommodation and Hospitality Services (Ahs) have since done remarkable work on a number of schemes designed to reduce our environmental impact. In fact, the University’s 2019 Energy and Environment Report shows that the University’s carbon emissions have gone down by 22 per cent since 2005. This has been achieved despite the period of 2005 – 2019 being one of significant growth in the University’s community and physical infrastructure. Emissions per square metre of building floor area were down 42 per cent over the same period, of which only a quarter is due to the decarbonisation of the grid.

University of Bath Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian White, said:

“I believe the Higher Education sector, and the University of Bath in particular, have a number of important ways in which we can make a serious contribution to tackling dangerous climate change at both global and local levels. At Bath, these include our real strength in research on climate and sustainability across our disciplines; our ability to support the education of the next generation of leaders in engineering, science, business, policy and beyond; and as a community of more than 20,000 people who travel, and consume energy and resources.

“I would like to pay great tribute to the outstanding work colleagues have already done in this area, from our many research activities across our Faculties and School and the significant impact this has had, to the important role of our Estates and Ahs teams in delivering innovative programmes to reduce our environmental impact on campus. I would also like to recognise the work of the Sustainability and Carbon Management Steering Group for its dedication in progressing this area of work.

“Given the climate emergency we are facing is global, the University has decided to develop an ambitious new Climate Action Framework with both an international and local focus. The University will be exploring four areas which will be developed under the new framework: continuing to build a body of research with clear contributions to climate change mitigation and adaption, teaching and learning which will enable future leaders to effectively address climate change, partnerships with third parties to drive impact, and strengthening our own University campus targets.”

Further information will be available as the Framework is developed.