The ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Pilot (‘Climate x’ Pilot) hosted by the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) held successfully on July 9. Professor Martin Siegert FRSE, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute and Professor of Geosciences, Imperial College London, led the day’s lecture and vividly illustrated the essential role of finance in addressing climate change to the GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors, while COVID prevented his co-lecturer Prof. Pedro Rochedo from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro from joining.
Prof. Siegert opened the lecture with the winning mural from The Grantham Climate Art Prize 2021 for Glasgow, called ‘The Climate is Changing’. He then explained the evidence and basics of climate change by sharing his Antarctic field research and experiences with the class. Prof. Siegert emphasized that although the planet experienced several warmings previously, the rate caused by the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions during the Second Industrial Revolution was the fastest. He further shed light on the efforts we need to achieve the 2 ℃ targets by showing an estimation of the necessary investment, reduction rate, and technology development rate.
During the discussion session of the lecture, the ambassadors enthusiastically discussed with Prof. Siegert a variety of topics, such as how to communicate with climate change denialists, investment in geoengineering, ethical issues in the climate funding system, and the time lag of climate change.
Prof. Guy Midgley, Acting Director of School for Climate Studies at Stellenbosch University, and Kerry-Anne Grey, Coordinator of Scientific Research at Stellenbosch, voluntarily stepped in during the Q&A session of the lecture. Prof. Midgley helped wade through confusions and questions addressed by our ambassadors, including the complex process of funding, the cost of delayed decarbonization, and investment appraisal.
Dr. Binbin Wang, the Executive-Secretary-General of GAUC, also shared her insights with the Ambassadors. She said that the concept of climate finance was born from the international negotiation and does not equal to green finance. To date, the academic research on climate finance is not sufficient to guide the actual practice. This research gap offers opportunity for young scholars to explore. She then shared a perspective of international relationship with the Ambassadors that developed countries, according to UNFCCC, should provide the financial support to developing countries. But nowadays, only blaming and pressing developed countries is not enough and smart. Policymakers in both developed and developing countries should take care of two chessboards, in domestic territory and on international arena, simultaneously. Weaking domestic economy makes it less likely to fund foreign countries continuously. “I looking forward to the innovative, balanced and considerate solutions from GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors because you are young generation with solid expertise in the field,” Dr. WANG said.
Dr. Wang showed her appreciation to colleagues from Imperial and Stellenbosch, ‘While the world is facing multiple challenges, the success of the 3rd Climate x Pilot lecture, boosted by the voluntary nature of the GAUC Family, is a vivid demonstration that as long as our hands join together tightly, there is no obstacle that we cannot overcome.’
Co-initiated by Sciences Po and Tsinghua University, the ‘Climate x’ Pilot is a joint educational project of GAUC’s 15 member universities and the world’s first youth climate leadership training project that convenes the strength of global leading universities across 6 continents. Composed of interdisciplinary lectures by leading experts and cross-culture group projects, the pilot program aims to provide a systematic curriculum to help the next generation to take the lead in tackling climate change challenges, especially with an interdisciplinary perspective on SDGs.
On July 16th, the Ambassadors will move to the topic of synergy between climate change and adaptation & resilience, where Prof. Midgley from Stellenbosch University and Prof. Taikan Oki from the University of Tokyo are going to share their years-long research in the field.
Reporter: Yu Han Soo
Editor: Jeffrey Tykot