October 31, 2021, by Amanda Miller
Dean Professor Duncan Angwin shares his thoughts on COP26
After waiting a long year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, more commonly known as COP26, will begin in Glasgow today. We at Nottingham University Business School wish the negotiators at COP26 all the best in reaching an agreement that avoids the worst outcomes from anthropogenic global warming. We are especially hopeful that support will be given to the people in vulnerable countries to support the transition towards a zero-carbon economy and to increase their resilience to the consequences of global warming.
Action is needed urgently. According to Antonio Guterres, the UN General Secretary, we are on the pathway to 2.7 degrees warming above pre-industrial levels. Such levels of warming pose an existential threat to our civilization and we cannot afford to let this happen, regardless of the outcome of the COP26 negotiations. Nottingham University Business School is committed to supporting the transition towards a sustainable society. We are a UN Principles for Responsibility Management Education (UN PRME) champion committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As sustainability thought leaders, we strive to integrate sustainability in our teaching, research, and operations. Sustainability is deeply embedded across our portfolio of programmes so that our students will graduate to become sustainability leaders in their careers. We do our best as a School to cultivate sustainability mind-sets and to inspire our students to become such leaders.
The School recognises that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and therefore made SDG 13 (to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) one of its priority goals. As sustainability leaders ourselves, we have incorporated climate change measures into our new Growth Strategy. We are building knowledge and capacity to meet climate change through engaging in knowledge transfer partnerships. Our staff are actively pursuing world-class climate action research on various topics including carbon taxation, sustainability literacy, climate governance, green growth, to name but a few. Notably, our multi-disciplinary research on the circular economy is fostering innovations that help reduce waste or pollution and create alternative energy sources. All our research informs our teaching with many programmes delivering some climate action education.
As important as COP26 is, the transition towards a zero-carbon economy does not only depend on these negotiations and I am encouraged that businesses are prioritising action on climate change and many are showing leadership by getting ahead of regulation. It also has to be acknowledged that there is more to combatting climate change than reducing emissions, as important as that is. We also need to restore and conserve those ecosystems that act as sinks for our emissions and help stabilise the climate system. To do this, we will need to reverse the biodiversity loss which is pushing us towards the Earth’s sixth great extinction event. For this reason, we are also hoping for a successful conclusion to COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity being held this year, and next, in Kunming, China. This is one of the great challenges of climate change and Nottingham University Business School wants to show leadership in this area too.
Everyone at Nottingham University Business School has their fingers crossed hoping for a successful 26th Conference of the Parties but regardless of the outcome, we are committed to supporting the transition towards a zero-carbon economy and have every faith that our graduates will play their part in supporting this transition when they leave us to change the world for the better.
Professor Duncan N. Angwin
Dean, Nottingham University Business School
University of Nottingham
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