Post sponsored by

Source: University of Waikato

Alliance of top universities urge G20 leaders to prioritise net zero emissions

The University of Waikato has joined an international coalition of around 50 of the world’s top climate research universities with a shared vision to be a global source of trusted communication of climate research.

The International Universities Climate Alliance will issue its first declaration ahead of the G20 Summit on 21 and 22 November, and makes an urgent call for world leaders to use the post-Covid recovery to implement measures to counteract climate change, warning that failure to do so will lock in catastrophic consequences for generations to come.

The Climate Alliance spans the populated continents, representing one-third of the 100 highest performing climate research universities and a quarter of the top 100 environmental research universities worldwide.

Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of Waikato, Iain White, is leading the University’s response as part of the Climate Alliance and says Covid-19 has shown the need for the world to come together to effectively address global problems and the power of a collaborative crisis response.

“Many challenges lie ahead of us in addressing the existential crisis in which the world finds itself. The International Universities Climate Alliance has been developed to become a rich resource upon which governments, business and industry, and individuals, can rely for evidence led advice,” he says.

As part of the launch of the declaration, Professor White will be participating in a panel discussion with leading climate researchers across the Asia Pacific Region.

The Climate Alliance is unprecedented in scale and scope and will support world leaders, policy makers and industry in planning for, and responding to, climate change. It draws on the expertise of climate science researchers across the world, to inform debate and offer solutions at national and global levels.

The advent of the Alliance comes at a time when momentum is building for countries to decarbonise their economies. In recent months there have been moves by various nations to fortify incremental efforts with policies and actions equal to the urgency of the situation.

“Momentum has recently been building in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a new ‘Zero Carbon Act’ as well as public discussion on the impacts of climate change on our vulnerable communities. However, there are still significant knowledge gaps that universities can help fill,” says Professor White.

The University of Waikato is involved in several research projects that will contribute to the body of knowledge on the issue, including looking at how prepared Aotearoa’s tourism sector is for the coming impact, how prepared New Zealand’s water infrastructure is to the effects of climate change and how to draw attention to the role indigenous knowledge can have in fighting climate change.

For more information relating to the online launch of the International Universities Climate Alliance, visit