News and Events

UBC understands that the actions we take today, will affect human and environmental wellbeing for generations to come.

The news and events below provide a window into the broad range of climate emergency-related activities underway by UBC academic units, operational departments, community initiatives, and student groups.

UBC invites you to explore what’s happening, and join us in this vital work.


UBC professor and UN Special Rapporteur David Boyd to elicit Indigenous perspectives for climate-related policies

April 30, 2021

UBC professor and UN Special Rapporteur David Boydhas established a new mechanism - a researchathon - that seeks to elicit Indigenous perspectives, communities and worldviews to shape the development and implementation of climate-related initiatives and policies.

Professor David Boyd (SPPGA; IRES), UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, and Marcos A Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, are gathering information on “sacrifice zones,” places of severe pollution or environmental degradation where profits have been prioritized over people.

Information received will be used for a report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2022.

Universities Must Do More to Address the Climate Emergency

April 26, 2021

The energy youth have shown in putting climate change on the political agenda and global protests in support of social justice this past year remind us that this generation has a vision for a post-pandemic world that is more sustainable and equitable for everyone.

At the University of British Columbia, a groundswell of student climate activism in recent years prompted the university to join organizations around the world in declaring a global climate emergency and committing to full divestment of investments from the fossil fuel industry.

However, more urgent progress is now needed, as the university mobilizes its institutional education, research and innovation capacity in continuing pursuit of climate solutions.

UBC completes initial transitioning of funds through the responsible investing strategy

April 12, 2021

As part of UBC’s commitment to a low-carbon, sustainable future and divesting the endowment, the university is pleased to share that $34M of endowment funds have been transitioned to fossil-fuel-free investments.

In late 2019, the university directed UBC Investment Management Trust Inc. (UBC IMANT) to develop and adopt an investment approach that builds on existing responsible investing practices, further addresses climate risk, and helps to drive positive social change.

UBC and UBC IMANT will continue to demonstrate leadership among universities and endowments as this responsible investing journey continues. Progress planned for 2021 includes divesting further funds to fossil-fuel-free funds with lower emissions, establishing an active ownership policy, and incorporating climate risk analysis into an asset mix study.

Student activism and divestment at UBC

April 10, 2021

Student activism, including on divestment on fossil fuels, is an important part of UBC's climate emergency story. Climate Justice UBC, a student group, prepared and produced this video to tell the story of UBC's fossil fuel divestment from their perspective.

One of the priority areas identified in the resulting Climate Emergency Task Force Report is to, "Demonstrate Institutional Leadership on Climate Justice", and the report makes a number of recommendations on divestment. This report is now being implemented under the mandate of the UBC Board of Governors Sustainability & Climate Action Committee , who consider matters relating to sustainability, climate action, and responsible investment at UBC.

April 9: What is UBC’s responsibility in relation to climate justice?

March 31, 2021

What role can and should UBC play as we strive for climate justice? Join a discussion with UBC faculty and staff committed to this work.

The webinar will include reflections on what climate justice means to the panelists and the role they feel that UBC and postsecondary institutions have in relation to climate justice.

Panelists will consider UBC as an institution engaging in education, research and outreach as well as the role of students, faculty and staff in bringing about climate justice.

Greta Thunberg receives honorary degree from UBC

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and internationally renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg will receive honorary degrees from UBC this spring.

Thunberg, 18, has gained international recognition for challenging world leaders to take immediate, science-based action against climate change, and for sparking climate-change activism in many parts of the world.

A three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she has given speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; at the European Parliament; in front of the legislatures of Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States; at the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit in New York, to which she famously traveled on an emissions‐free yacht; and the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.

Climate Action Plan 2030

March 26, 2021

In December 2019, UBC declared a climate emergency. As a result, the university is developing an ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP2030) aimed at implementing strategies that will result in emissions reductions from UBC’s core operations by 2030 through clean energy solutions and energy-efficient technologies.

Now we’re turning to you, members of the UBC community, to share your valuable insights around what we can all do to help meet our goals. Come to one of our virtual events to learn more about CAP2030 and fill out a survey to share your perspective!

All survey participants will be entered into a draw to win a $100 gift card.

UBC Investment Management Trust Inc. commits $110M towards a more sustainable global economy

March 17, 2021

UBC Investment Management Trust Inc. (UBC IMANT) is pleased to report it has committed $110 million to be managed by Impax Asset Management (Impax), a specialist asset manager which invests in opportunities arising from the transition to a more sustainable global economy.

Reinforcing UBC’s commitment to address the global climate emergency, UBC IMANT expects its investment managers to consider ESG factors in all of their decision‐making – and is evaluating and holding fund managers accountable to this performance.

Responsible Investing progress planned for 2021 includes transferring additional funds to lower emission and fossil fuel free funds, establishing an active ownership policy, and incorporating climate risk analysis into portfolio analytics and asset mix study.

March 25: Climate Research Made Real – Practical Applications of Research for Better Futures

March 8, 2021

Join UBC Library for a special event featuring four panelists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds as they engage in a conversation about the climate crisis and work to be done in the here and now.

In the December 5, 2019 Declaration on the Climate Emergency, the UBC Board of Governors stated that the University has a mandate “to effect change beyond our institutional boundaries” and to “advance a sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world.”

In response to this mandate, the L#CAT (Library Climate Act Team) invites you to an afternoon panel event, “Climate Research Made Real: Practical Applications of Research for Better Futures”. Read more.

Climate Justice Webinar Series

March 5, 2021

Climate justice advocates for a shift in the focus of dialogue on climate change away from economic imperatives and technical solutions, to protecting the human rights of those most vulnerable to its effects, both globally and locally.

Climate change causes disproportionate impacts on people. Youth, in particular, see the climate crisis as one of the defining challenges of their age, noting that continued fossil fuel expansion will lock in decades of greenhouse gas emissions, jeopardizing their human rights and future prospects.

In response to the focus on climate justice as part of UBC’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency and recommendations from its Climate Emergency Task Force (CETF) Report the UBC Sustainability Initiative is launching the Climate Justice Series, featuring sessions that examine climate justice from various perspectives, locally and globally. Read more.