First Progress Report on the Climate Emergency at UBC

The first progress review on the climate emergency at UBC since the Board of Governors and Senates unanimously endorsed in principle the Climate Emergency Task Force (CETF) report in early 2021. The Sustainability Hub is responsible for convening and coordinating people across UBC to make progress on the report’s recommendations.

The strategic priority areas below are representative of the UBC community’s response, care and commitment to urgent climate action.

UBC is taking a distributed approach to implementation with responsibility embedded across all parts of the University.

To ensure the CETF report recommendations remain a top priority, The UBC Sustainability Initiative has dedicated a new team to convening and coordinating stakeholders towards action.

The progress reports below represent efforts to synthesize the actions of many different student, faculty, and staff groups across campus.

Operationalize UBC’s commitments to climate justice: support climate leadership and initiatives led by Indigenous, Black, and people of colour.

Two new Climate Emergency Senior Manager positions were filled by UBC Sustainability Hub.

An Analysis of Environmentalism Among the Black Population within Vancouver: Research supported by the student-led UBC Climate Hub and faculty members.

Demonstrate institutional leadership on climate justice.

Responsible Investing Strategic Plan: UBC’s Board of Governors endorsed UBC IMANT’s comprehensive Responsible Investing Strategic Plan.

$214 million transitioned: Since the beginning of 2020, UBC has transitioned $214 million to fossil-fuel-free or low carbon investments — representing over 20% of our public equity holdings.

Establish mechanisms and processes that ensure Indigenous perspectives, communities and worldviews shape the development and implementation of climate-related initiatives and policies.

Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP): UBC became the first university in North America to commit to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

UBC Sustainability Hub embeds ISP in New Strategic Plan: UBC Sustainability Hub was among the first units at UBC to use the Self-Assessment Tool and weave key ISP actions into their new five-year strategic plan.

Expand, strengthen and coordinate climate research at UBC. UBC’s core contributions to the climate crisis will be made through its primary roles of teaching and research.

Centre for Climate Justice: World-renowned climate activist and author – Naomi Klein – has joined UBC faculty and is playing a key role in building the new Centre.

Climate Change Research Symposium: The symposium brought together hundreds of researchers from multiple faculties to enhance the potential to significantly impact climate change through research and innovation.

Foster a culture of engagement and advocacy on climate action.

UBC sent a delegation of eight to COP26 in Glasgow in November, following an open contest for students, faculty, and staff.

Student Academic Advocacy Toolkit developed by the UBC Climate Hub to support undergraduate students.

Expand climate education opportunities and resources for the UBC community and broader public.

UBC is strengthening efforts to ensure that all undergraduate and graduate students have access to climate education within their discipline, supporting further climate education pedagogy and curriculum development, and expanding climate-related professional development opportunities.

Support community wellbeing in the face of the climate crisis.

UBC is beginning to develop mental health, resilience & eco-anxiety supports, skills, and services for UBC community members through a lens of climate and racial justice, and greater public discourse around climate change and public health impacts.

Develop new and strengthen existing partnerships to tackle the climate emergency.

Vienna House Living Lab: UBC’s first off-campus Living Lab project involving research during the design and construction of a new housing community.

UC3 Fellows Pilot Program: UBC led pilot program that invites UC3 member universities to award full- and part-time fellowships to postdocs, graduate students, faculty, and staff to advance collaborative climate action projects.

Accelerate emissions reductions at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan in response to the Climate Emergency.

Emissions reductions have been a priority for UBC for the past two decades. UBC’s upcoming Climate Action Plan 2030 has, for the first time, explicitly committed to reducing emissions from extended impact sources beyond the University’s direct control – these include emissions from UBC-related commuting, food systems, waste and materials, and business air travel.