Education and climate change – part 9

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I see that UCU and NUS have a conference coming up in Manchester on May 13th:

The role of education institutions in tackling climate change

UCU says:

"On Friday 21 April  2016 the Paris climate agreement was signed in New York.  It will become legally enforceable in the UK. Education, research and finance form part of this agreement.  The education sector has a massive role to play in the delivery of a low carbon economy.  This conference will explore the implications for the tertiary education sector.  Industrial strategy in the UK will fail to deliver the Paris objectives unless it incorporates the 3 cross-cutting themes of skills and knowledge, research, and finance.  The conference focuses on these themes and the actions needed by policy makers and institutions."

Speakers include:

  • Julia King, Vice Chancellor, Aston University
  • Ken Thompson, Principal of Forth Valley College
  • Carly McLachlan, Tyndall Research Centre
  • Kate Rigby, Bath Spa University
  • Evette Prout, Sheffield student union's development officer
  • Andy Kerr, Executive Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
  • Lisa Nandy, MP, Shadow Energy Minister

Delegates will certainly be busy listening.

This is all about higher / further education, of course, and UCU has identified a number of key questions that "must be answered" if the sector is going to make a decisive contribution to the transition to a new economy.  These include:

  1. What do we mean by carbon literacy and are institutions doing enough for their staff, students and their local communities?
  2. How is the sector performing on climate research and how should it shape government and industrial policy?
  3. What role for institutions engaging with fossil fuel companies to shift their trajectory to a more sustainable footing?
  4. What are the policy priorities to ensure that the sector is aligned with the vision of a zero carbon economy?

Yet again, these do not seem to be well-expressed.  I didn't set out to be picky, but ...

  • It seems a pity to begin with the otiose 'climate literacy'.  I wonder if UCU / NUS know what they mean to mean by this.
  • The "it" in the second question is ambiguous, as is "their' in the third.
  • The third question is ungrammatical and (hence?) confusing.
  • The last seems to make sense, sort of ...

What's notable is the absence of any mention of the recent HEAQAA report on ESD in HE which addressed (or tried to) to issue of learning and sustainability, including climate.

I'll not be going, but know someone who is ...


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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