UOW committed to climate change action

Vice-Chancellor commends ongoing climate change efforts by staff and students.

University of Wollongong (UOW) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, has commended the ongoing efforts of staff and students to address the crucially important issue of climate change.

“Global Climate Change Week 2019 events are the latest initiatives among many being implemented across the University in response to this important global issue.

“I am very proud of the award-winning and ground-breaking research being undertaken at UOW to explore the causes and impacts of climate change, while others simultaneously pursue practical solutions such as sustainable fisheries management, bushfire management and innovations in battery technologies, sustainable buildings and new materials.

“On the education front, climate change has been incorporated into many subjects across all faculties while guest lectures, art exhibitions, public advocacy and events such as Global Climate Change Week are increasing community awareness and understanding of the issue,” Professor Wellings said.

UOW is changing its use of energy and energy mix. The University is currently spending approximately $8M installing solar photovoltaic panels and LED lighting to slash energy consumption at its Wollongong and Innovation Campuses. In addition, the University is investing heavily to provide public transport services, including $350,000 per annum to support the Gong Shuttle in addition to its own bus routes.

Last month Professor Wellings signed a commitment on behalf the University to support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include climate action and many other environmental and social issues.

Prior to today’s public event, there has been no previous submission of a formal request or proposal seeking a declaration of a climate change emergency by Professor Wellings on behalf of the University.

“Any such declaration— beyond a symbolic gesture—would require careful consideration and broad consultation as the resulting actions over such a short time frame will have significant financial and practical implications for staff, students, contractors and the communities in which UOW operates.

“As a scientist, I consider the evidence for climate change to be irrefutable and wholeheartedly support initiatives to address it, but I remain equally committed to fulfilling my responsibility as Vice-Chancellor to carefully consider all implications across the entire global institution before making decisions or declarations on behalf of the University,” Professor Wellings said.

Story by Andrew Herring – UOW Media Unit

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