Goal #13

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG 13 Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

UNSW is committed to this goal and demonstrates its commitment through:

  • Research that builds knowledge and capacity to meet climate change and supports the integration of climate change measures into policies and planning
  • Courses and education programmes on climate change risks, opportunities and impacts
  • Commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and value chain 
  • Cooperative planning for climate disasters and informing and support of government action on climate change.

We are the problem, but also the solution.

Greenhouse gases are still rising and climate change is occurring at rates much higher than anticipated just a few years ago. The rise in emissions makes a warming trajectory of 1.5 - 2 degrees – the stated goal of the UN – increasingly difficult  to realise and emphasises why we must act to reduce our emissions now. Ultimately, human behaviour has caused climate change and its only by changing human behaviour that we’re going to solve the problem. The are lots of simple actions that are easy to implement and effective, especially if we all adopt them, including reducing car use, reducing food waste, eating more plant based food, and getting involved in groups to integrate climate change majors in to national policy.

In this video, Professor Ben Newell from the School of Psychology, UNSW, breaks down some of the key challenges behind SDG #13

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UNSW joins the UN's Race to Zero

In 2021 UNSW became a signatory to the United Nation’s Race to Zero global campaign, which rallies leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery. Joining the campaign reaffirmed our commitment to combating climate change and building a sustainable future. 

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Schools Weather and Air Quality (SWAQ) 

The UNSW Climate Change Research Centre developed the first school-based comprehensive atmospheric monitoring network in Australia, known as Schools Weather and Air Quality (SWAQ). The project promotes STEM and climate change awareness in schools. The SWAQ team have been nominated for the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science.

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Windmills

TEDI-London PLuS Alliance Initiative

The TEDI-London PLuS Alliance is a joint initiative of UNSW, Arizona State University and King's College London. In 2021, the ‘Engineering for People Design Challenge’ was run as part of the TEDI-London course in partnership with Engineers without Borders UK. The challenge brief required students to think carefully about the impact their ideas had whilst developing their solutions - considering not only the design brief, but the potential consequences that their work might have on the social, environmental and ethical factors involved. 

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Centres

UNSW CCRC is a multi-disciplinary research centre comprising one of the largest university research facilities of its kind in Australia, administered within the School of BEES in the Faculty of Science. CCRC houses research expertise in the key areas of Earth's climate: atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial processes and applies basic scientific principles to pressing questions on climate dynamics, global climate change, and extremes of weather and climate. It also provides courses, education programmes or campaigns on climate change risks, impacts, mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

UNSW-led International Universities Climate Alliance has a membership of about 58 universities globally and its mandate is to amplify university research via global communication, to influence policy makers and counter misinformation in the public. One of the topics the Alliance is tackling is decarbonisation of the sector, including campus sustainability and achieving net zero targets.

 

 

UNSW is a founding member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEx), located on our main campus and directed by UNSW Professor Andy Pitman. CLEx exists to transform our understanding of events such as heatwaves, droughts and storms. It provides data, tools, advisory services and education for local, national and international governments, helping them to plan for climate change.  

Awards

Awards

2021 Chemeca Medal

Scientia Professor Rose Amal from UNSW Engineering was awarded the 2021 Chemeca Medal by the Australian and New Zealand Federation of Chemical Engineers (ANZFChE), the most prestigious award in the chemical engineering profession in Australia and New Zealand.

The award is in recognition of her world-leading research in the fields of fine particle technology, photocatalysis and functional nanomaterials, which has profound implications for solar and chemical energy conversion applications such as treating water, purifying air, and generating renewable hydrogen economically and sustainably.

UNSW Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is a key element of our 2025 Strategy. Through this, we have made it our mission to become the first university in Australia to commit to having 100% of its electricity supplied by photovoltaic solar power. Our students and staff are actively engaged in environmental and social issues. We recognise that we are uniquely positioned to contribute to solving global environmental challenges through teaching, research, thought leadership and demonstrating leading practices on our campuses.

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UNSW Sustainable Development Goals 2020-2021 Report

This report outlines UNSW's performance against the SDGs over the years 2020-2021.

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