Climate change has brought about weather extremes, with changing weather conditions and increasing sea levels, and the effects are felt worldwide.
One positive from the Covid-19 pandemic is the greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 have reduced but this is only because world travel has decreased and lockdowns have been introduced to try and thwart the spread of the virus. This is only a short-term gain on greenhouse gas emissions and post-pandemic they will return to increased levels.
The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to climate change by keeping global temperature rise below two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.
It is hoped that new technologies, financial input and enhanced sustainability development can all help combat the monumental difficulties the world is faced with when trying to deal with the enormous challenge of climate change.
Teaching and learning
The root causes of climate change are many and complex and at the University of Liverpool, students are able to explore these causes and solutions from a number of different perspectives within course modules. Examples of course modules that have a direct or indirect focus on Climate Action (as assessed by students) include:
- Machine learning and bioinspired optimisation (COMP532)
- Foundations in international politics (POLI104)
- Maritime geographies (ENVS339)
- Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)
- Living With Environmental Change (ENVS119)
We recognise that there is much more to do to equip students with the knowledge and skills that they need to make a contribution to achieving this global goal. Working with the Guild of Students our undergraduates and postgraduates have the opportunity to audit their curriculum modules for their relevance to SDG13: Climate action and to make recommendations for changes to the course content. For more information on how students can get involved see the Guild curriculum audit report.
The University has also established a Climate Action Group. This group brings together academics, students and representatives from the Centre for Innovation in Education to develop a strategic plan for embedding SDGs into the curriculum including SDG13.
There are also a number of ways that students can support the aims and objectives of SDG13 through extra-curricular activities, including volunteering opportunities provided by the Guild of Students.
Research and knowledge exchange
The University contributes to the identification of the root problems that cause climate action and the potential solutions across many areas of research. Some key examples are:
- Climate warming disrupts tree seed production
- Research identifies barriers to development of seawater electrolysis technologies
- Towards a green future for Liverpool City Region
Leadership, governance and professional services
Examples of leadership, governance and professional services include:
The University’s invested £19 million on the Heating and Infrastructure Project (HIP), which saw the Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) and Energy Centre constructed. The CHP uses gas to generate electricity for the University on-site and then captures the excess heat generated in order to distribute it into the district heating system for the University. The University is experiencing savings of 7,000 tonnes of CO2 each year from the CHP, resulting in a 13% reduction in the University’s carbon footprint. The Energy Centre then allows the University to monitor the electricity and heat produced from the CHP, alongside that received from utility companies.
The University has recently invested in three Solar PV sites located on the Engineering Building (block B), Foundation Building, and at Ness Gardens (as part of the weather station). Each site has the potential to save up to 20 tonnes of C02. Solar thermal panels are also proposed to be installed on south-facing roof areas of the vine court residences to supplement the domestic hot water demand thus reducing the gas loads.
The University is currently conducting feasibility studies into wind energy generation, biofuels and anaerobic digestion.
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