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Amnesty and People & Planet Statement on SU Climate paper

By University of Bath Amnesty Society & Bath People and Planet Society

We would like to state our support for the paper submitted by the Students Union to the C/S/SU committee of the university. The paper sets out demands of students for the university to do more to address the climate crisis and we endorse those demands. The Amnesty Society and People and Planet Society worked collaboratively to create the demands with the Students Union Activities Officer, Francesco Masala, and the demands represent a wide cross-section of the University of Bath student body. 

We are pleased that the Students Union has recognised the urgency of the Climate Crisis and included a demand to have the University of Bath achieve climate neutrality by 2030. The climate crisis is already having a devastating impact on fundamental rights globally with rights such as the right to housing, right to life, right to health and many others affected. Immediate action by institutions such as the University of Bath is required.

The paper does recognise positive steps that the University has taken in recent years and we also praise those efforts. These efforts included the ‘Leave No Trace’ scheme to reduce single-use coffee cup usage and the 100% green renewable electricity supply used by the University.

However, transparency of University activity is a persistent worry. For instance, the Carbon Management Group which decides University policy on sustainability has not published minutes since May 2018. As well as the demands in the paper, we believe that the University should open up structures such as these to student and staff groups, giving them a real stake in University policy to address the Climate Crisis. Additionally, on the theme of transparency, the Students Union should push for the University to publish statistics on airmiles taken by staff and academics. Addressing the Climate Crisis is not just about reducing carbon emissions, it requires structural change including changing the way we operate such as flying less or not at all.

Furthermore, the Students Union itself needs to recognize the Climate and Ecological Crisis as a top priority by declaring a Climate Emergency and committing to carbon neutrality by the year 2025. It needs to communicate this priority to students and allow the student body to make changes towards this target and beyond.

The paper we believe is a good platform from which to build. It can be improved, student demands are likely increase and the Students Union should be aware of this. For instance, we would like the University to declare a climate emergency, a measure which the Bath and North East Somerset Council has already taken.

We therefore encourage student groups to back this paper and pressure the university to implement the demands set out.

Recommendations for the University set out in the Climate paper by the CSSU

Recommendations by the Students’ Union 

  • For the University to pledge Carbon Neutrality by 2030, both including research and without research as separate targets.
  • For the University to commit to achieving as low embodied carbon in new builds as possible and to aim for net-zero emissions during use of the building.
  • To embed sustainability in the curriculum of all University courses.
  • For the University to review its investment practices to take into account any links to funding the fossil fuel industry. 
  • For the University to review its relationship with Barclays due to its continuous involvement in the fossil fuel industry.
  • For the University to commit further staff resources specifically focused on sustainability. 
  • For the University to include the climate crisis and its environmental impact as a core component in its new strategy, and regularly report to C/S/SU on actions undertaken.

Recommendations by People and Planet

  • For the University to commit to being neutral
  • For the University to create a carbon neutral strategy that will include the actions the University is undertaking to meet this pledge and is reported up to CSSU regularly 
  • For professional and academic departments to be incorporated in the carbon neutral strategy 
  • To publish its actions and progress on the University website 
cc. Bath Amnesty and P&P Society

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