Climate plan

Work towards the University’s Climate Plan started in December 2018 when a series of staff and student workshops identified the following emergent themes:

  • urgent action towards net zero (incorporating scope 1, 2 and scope 3 emissions where we have measurable data and can influence);
    divestment from fossil fuel investment/research;
  • a concern for greenhouse gas emissions linked to food and a wish to reduce these;
  • embedding climate change across the curriculum;
    action at the University and wider city to decarbonise transport;
  • increased public/civic engagement to influence change beyond the University;
  • support for student activism and action to reduce climate impacts.

In September 2019, in recognition of the seriousness of the climate crisis, the University Council announced seven Principles for climate action. To support this, we committed to developing a Climate Plan that would direct future action to achieve these seven principles.

Before Covid-19 caused some activities to be temporarily paused, we had:

  • spoken to over 740 staff and students through workshops, stalls and a climate road-show to help shape our approach, with a particular focus on net-zero carbon emissions;
  • held three academic working groups focused on research and innovation, embedding climate into the curriculum and governance and decision making. Summary reports contributed to the draft Climate Plan;
  • completed a consultancy project on decarbonising heating on campus;
  • completed a consultancy project to come up with a net-zero compliant pathway;
  • begun development of an overarching Climate Plan and associated workstreams to deliver against the Climate Principles.

The University remains unequivocally committed to the seven Climate Principles, and our work to implement them is ongoing. One – but by no means the only – element of this is to formulate an overarching Climate Plan for the University which will set out both work that is already in train, progress to date, and how we go from here to deliver net zero in a way that is achievable, with defined interventions and an associated investment plan.

This takes time and we are working with many academics and partners to get it right – climate change is a global challenge that can only be tackled in collaboration with others. We still aim to present an updated plan to Council for review in autumn 2021.
By developing a plan that is ambitious, specific and deliverable, we will ensure the University leads the climate agenda and helps to deliver a sustainable, low carbon future.

What can I do to tackle climate change?

Climate change is a global challenge that can only be tackled in collaboration with others. Whether you’re a student, staff, external organisation or a member of the public, the Climate Plan is relevant to us all and needs everyone’s input.

You can find lots of practical ways that you can make an impact at the University of Leeds on our get involved page.

Interested in linking your research to climate change? Then why not become a member of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, an interdisciplinary research group involving more than 350 people across the University of Leeds

If you want to comment on the Climate Plan or have an idea of how we can collaborate, we would love to hear from you: sustainability@leeds.ac.uk.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our Climate Plan is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 13: Climate action
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.