London’s universities call for a reset of the capital’s image at the COP26 climate summit

London Higher – the representative body for the UK’s higher education powerhouse in London – is today calling for Government to be bold at COP26 and to use the climate change summit to reset the reputation of the UK capital as a world leader in green campuses, research, and leadership.

Clearing the Big Smoke: London’s higher education sector leading a greener future is a new report highlighting the importance of London’s universities to the green agenda, locally, nationally and across the globe.

Showcasing real-life, practical examples of the innovative work being carried out at higher education institutions across the capital, the report details how London’s universities are leading the way on the sustainability agenda and, together, equip London with the green research, knowledge and governance it needs to achieve its ambitious net-zero targets by the end of this decade.

To ensure London’s higher education institutions remain well-placed to deliver strong green leadership, the report calls on the UK Government to protect, as a minimum, the current level of resource for London’s research and development (R&D) base and to consider establishing the capital as a global ‘Green Innovation Hub’ to allow London’s universities’ green research to be deployed at scale.

The report also calls on the Mayor of London to use his new chairmanship of the C40 to set a bold, clean image for the capital by sharing ideas and innovations from London’s higher education sector with global counterparts to expediate climate action and bring the expertise from London’s universities to bear in cities worldwide.

Commenting on the report, CEO of London Higher and author of the report, Dr Diana Beech said;

“London has long been known as the Big Smoke, yet – as this report demonstrates – London’s higher education sector is leading the charge in developing green and sustainable initiatives, utilising their research and leadership to develop green solutions on an international scale.

“In examining the range and profile of green initiatives spearheaded by London’s universities, this report puts forward a new cleaner, greener and healthier face for the capital with higher education at its heart. The Mayor of London and the UK Government would do well to harness the power of London’s universities to help accelerate progress on climate action not just here in the capital but across the globe.”

Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, University of London and Executive Chair of London Higher’s Sustainability Network said;

“Our capital is leading the way on climate action. At a time when the climate crisis can seem insurmountable, it is heartening to see the progress being made by higher education institutions of all kinds.

“There is much work ahead, but I can’t think of a better group of organisations to be working with on this defining challenge of our time.”