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The Tsinghua University-initiated Global Alliance of Universities on Climate Celebrates Three Years of Empowering Youth to Take Climate Action

GAUC COP25 Youth Delegation

January 2022 marks the third year since Tsinghua University initiated the Global Alliance of Universities (GAUC) in 2019 in Davos, Switzerland during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Established in May 2019, GAUC’s mission is to advance climate change solutions through research, education, and public outreach, and to partner with industry, non-profit and government organizations to promote rapid implementation on a local and global scale by promoting exchange and cooperation among member universities.

Focusing on promoting joint research, talent cultivation, campus action, social implementation, and public engagement on climate change, GAUC has launched a series of projects, such as the GAUC Graduate Forum. Against the backdrop of climate emergency, it has been upgraded to the Global Youth Summit on Net-Zero Future (Climate x Summit), to undertake a more active role in mobilizing youth leadership.

In November 2021, on Youth and Public Empowerment Day of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the award ceremony of the Climate x Summit was held simultaneously at Tsinghua University in Beijing and COP26 in Glasgow. Hosted by GAUC with the support of its 15 member universities in 9 countries on 6 continents, the one-week Summit, presented a total of 30 events, attracted over 350 youth submissions from 6 continents with over 125 million global participants.

The centerpiece of the Climate x Summit was the “Three Tracks”, comprised of a climate research competition (Academic Track) co-organized by Columbia University, the University of Oxford, Yale University and Tsinghua University; a mini-hackathon (Action Track) for climate change solutions organized by Imperial College London; and a youth climate messaging project (Voice Track) organized by the University of Cambridge.

“The question of how to deal with climate change and mitigate natural disaster risks has become a serious issue for all countries, which requires the collective efforts of the entire global community. This decade is an extremely important period in the history of humanity, as it will determine whether we can achieve a carbon-neutral future. Young people play a vital role in achieving this goal,” said Qiu Yong, the President of Tsinghua University and Founding Chair of GAUC.

“It’s critically important for younger generations to take the lead and make their voices heard in this race to zero carbon to protect the future of the planet,” said Minouche Shafik, Co-Chair of GAUC and Director of London School of Economics and Political Science. “Universities prepare the leaders of tomorrow, and students have been vocal advocates for urgent action at universities and in their later professional lives.”

Representatives from GAUC member universities joined, either online or offline in Glasgow, and together witnessed new ideas, reflections and solutions of youth on climate change. During the award ceremony, student representatives from GAUC universities made the “Global Youth Climate Declaration.” Inspired by the Climate x Summit, the participants from the Voice Track initiated the declaration and gathered modifications and signatures from youth across six continents, aiming to inspire more youth to take part in climate action.

In 2019 and 2020, the GAUC Graduate Forum offered a global platform to exchange climate research discoveries for over 400 postgraduates from over 50 universities, and received recognition from world climate leaders such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UNFCCC ESG Patricia Espinosa.

For more information, please visit Tsinghua University( ) and GAUC( ).

SOURCE: Tsinghua University