Unimelb Joins International Universities Climate Alliance

22 April 2020

In early April, the University of Melbourne participated in forming the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA), spearheaded by the University of New South Wales (UNSW). 

The IUCA aims to centralise research on the climate crisis, making it more accessible to leaders, policymakers, industry, the media and the general public alike. It thereby hopes to accelerate climate action with evidence-based recommendations across various sectors, even as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consisting of 40 global climate research institutions, the IUCA membership includes the National University of Singapore, the University of Ghana and Cornell University. 

The UNSW Climate Change Research Centre Professor, Matthew England, said, “As hard as it is to comprehend amid virus information saturation, the climate change emissions pathway, with every delay, becomes so much harder to overcome.” 

“[The IUCA] is united in helping to break through this barrier so decision makers can have better access to, and understanding of, research-based facts on climate change impacts, adaptation and, most importantly, mitigation.” 

Previous attempts have been made by the University of Melbourne to promote climate research, for example, through the Climate Reality Project hosted by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. 

The University’s efforts have been met with mixed responses from the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU). UMSU Environment Office Bearer Sophie Kerrigan said, “Despite flaunting its world leading climate research, [the University of Melbourne] refuses to take definitive public action on climate change like divesting from the fossil fuel industry.” 

“This university continues to bring climate criminals like Rio Tinto and Exxon Mobil to careers fairs despite the warnings about these companies in the research it publishes. We will always support furthering research on climate change but our university needs to read this research as well.” 

The clip above is a live video posted by Unimelb Students for Climate Justice. It shows student protestors in front of a Rio Tinto stall in early March. 

UMSU President Hannah Buchan shares this view: “There is some fantastic research being conducted at the University but they need to practice what they preach and follow through with serious action on climate change.” 

Farrago has reached out to the University for comment. 

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