Edinburgh to join international leaders at COP27

University students and staff will take part in this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP27.

A lake in the shape of footprints in the middle of a forest as a metaphor for the impact of human activity

The climate conference will bring together world leaders, organisations, climate activists and academics to build on the outcomes of COP26 and speed up actions that are essential to tackling the climate emergency.

COP27 will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022.

The University will send a delegation of 10 staff and students, led by Professor Sandy Tudhope, University Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability.

The delegation will present University research, partnerships and impacts, and will follow and report back on proceedings during the conference.

The summit is an important opportunity for the University to feed into the wider goals and commitment to climate action and help influence policy change through research.

Fringe events

Members of the Edinburgh delegation will lead on and participate in a range of events over the course of the two-week summit.

On Thursday 10 November, Dr Sian Henley, Lecturer in Marine Science will join other high-profile speakers at a discussion on ‘Multiple Threats to Polar Oceans’ and will later lead an event for the Southern Ocean Observing System on the importance of protecting Southern Ocean ecosystems.

On Wednesday 16 November, the University will host a joint event with South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand to showcase their partnership and encourage further sustainability-focused connections between Scotland and South Africa.

U7+ Alliance

The University will join other universities from the U7+ Alliance at a panel discussion on Thursday 17th November.

PhD candidate and Edinburgh Earth Fellow, Henry Ibiolu – a former student delegate to the U7+ Worldwide Student Forum – will take part in the discussion.

‘Universities as key solutions providers: leveraging our local and global networks for innovation’ will focus the conversation on how universities can demonstrate their effectiveness as co-creators of climate solutions.

The U7+ Alliance is a group of international universities looking at ways to address the most pressing global challenges.

Edinburgh is a founding member of the network which is now made up made up of over 30 universities from G7 countries.

Engaging with COP

People are being encouraged to attend COP27 virtually with an online course running parallel to the conference.

‘Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live at COP27’ will run from 7 to 22 November and will give attendees the opportunity to explore the broader context of the climate summit and share insights into the topics being discussed.

The University has developed the course in collaboration with Learning for Sustainability Scotland and the British Council.

Over 5,000 people have enrolled in the free course which will allow people to engage with COP no matter where they are in the world.

COP is an important platform for negotiations around climate action policies and initiatives across the globe. It’s also an opportunity for leading institutions like the University of Edinburgh to influence positive impact through research and collaboration.

Phenny OmondiOnline Mastercard Foundation Scholar and member of the University delegate at COP27

Edinburgh ambitions

The University has set itself targets to address climate change, including a commitment to becoming a net zero institution by 2040.

Other commitments include the institution’s complete divestment from fossil fuels and plans to capture and store more than one million tonnes of unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions.

The University’s Edinburgh Earth Initiative further builds on the institution’s commitment to do more to address climate, environmental and sustainability challenges.

The initiative – launched on the eve of COP26 last year – acts as a focal point for the University’s world-leading teaching and research on climate, drawing on the University’s expertise across numerous disciplines.

It is driving key strategic partnerships for the University with organisations such as the UN Refugee Agency and other academic institutes, while also building a pipeline of research applications and propositions to a number of funding bodies.

Since its launch, the initiative has collaborated on several climate-related start-ups and scale-ups and has introduced the Earth Fellows programme which provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to work on climate projects of strategic importance.

25 students are now fellows through the programme, engaged on work for climate related projects on energy, global health and sustainable land and seas.

Related links

The University of Edinburgh at COP27

Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference - November 2022 | UNFCCC

Edinburgh Earth Initiative

Learning Live at COP27 - Sustainability Course

Credit, Getty images, Petmal