Alliance of top universities urge G20 leaders to prioritise net zero emissions

News - 18 November 2020 - Communication

An international coalition of leading climate research universities, including TU Delft, has issued its first declaration ahead of the G20 Summit on 21 and 22 November 2020. The declaration of the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA) implores world leaders to use the post-COVID recovery to implement measures to counteract climate change, warning that failure to do so will have serious consequences for generations to come.

International Universities Climate Alliance

The International Universities Climate Alliance member universities span all populated continents, representing one-third of the 100 highest performing climate research universities and a quarter of the top 100 environmental research universities worldwide. The Climate Alliance is dedicated to supporting world leaders, policy makers and industry in planning for, and responding to, climate change.

G20 obligation

Specifically addressing the G20 leaders in this IUCA declaration is therefore especially relevant, as the G20 members represent 85% of global Gross Domestic Product and nearly 80% of global CO2 emissions. G20 members consume 95% of the world’s coal and more than 70% of its oil and gas. According to the IUCA declaration, G20 leaders therefore have both an obligation and the opportunity to lead global systemic change. G20 governments need to work together to ensure fossil fuel industries rapidly move at scale to become net-zero carbon energy providers.

Need to speak out

Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Sydney in Australia, founding member of the Alliance, said he and his colleagues recognised the need for experts with diverse voices to speak out about the climate crisis: ‘Many challenges lie ahead of us in combatting the existential crisis in which the world finds itself. The International Universities Climate Alliance is a rich resource upon which governments, business, industry and the wider community can rely for evidence-based expert advice.’

TU Delft vision on Climate Action

TU Delft had already committed to being such a resource, in line with joining the IUCA and signing this declaration, made explicit in its Climate Action vision paper published last year: ‘The goal – a climate resilient world - cannot be achieved without innovative technologies, for mitigation as well as for adaptation. It cannot be achieved without a better understanding of global and regional climate change. And it cannot be achieved without deeper insights into the ethical, social and cultural embedding of policies and measures. TU Delft sets out to build upon its intellectual and innovative power for safeguarding the world population against the risks of climate change, by developing technologies and methods as described above – in close collaboration with those companies and organizations that need to implement such measures in practice. The problem is complex and urgent – but we have no other choice than to be optimistic and use all of our capacity to face the challenge, through our education programs and our research.

More information

Link to the text of the declaration

The IUCA provides a central hub for universities to share the latest climate research and enable greater collaboration between leading research teams. UNSW Sydney is currently the Secretariat and founded the Climate Alliance. TU Delft is one of the founding members. More:

Sustainability website TU Delft:

Contact TU Delft Science Information Officer Roy Meijer,, +31 6 14015008


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