Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges

By Charlotte Owen-Burge | July 8, 2021

Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges is a collaboration between UNEP, EAUC and Second Nature.

By joining the Race to Zero, Universities and Colleges demonstrate both the higher and further education sector’s commitment to the net zero agenda as well as their institution’s leadership on a global level at COP26 in November 2021.

Below is a message from Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Champion for COP26 and Gonzalo Munoz, Chilean High Level Climate Champion for COP25 on why universities and colleges need to take action now.

Watch the TEDxUNEP Countdown: Racing to Zero with Higher Education.

By joining Universities and Colleges are committing to the following Race to Zero criteria:

  • Pledge: Pledge at the head-of-organization level to reach (net) zero GHGs as soon as possible, and by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C. Set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects maximum effort toward or beyond a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C
  • Plan:  Within 12 months of joining, explain what actions will be taken toward achieving both interim and longer-term pledges, especially in the short- to medium-term.
  • Proceed: Take immediate action toward achieving (net) zero, consistent with delivering interim targets specified.
  • Publish: Commit to report publicly both progress against interim and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually.

Full details on the refined criteria, and accompanying interpretation guide and language guide.

Who is running this campaign?

This campaign is run in partnership with EAUC, Second Nature and UN Environment. EAUC are the secretariat. If you have any questions please email us.

By committing to this campaign your institution will automatically be added to the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign. This campaign replaces the Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges, all signatories have been contacted and consented to be part of the Race to Zero campaign.

*This is the total figure as part of the Race to Zero which includes signatories of this Race to Zero (formerly Global Climate Letter) and Second Nature’s Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments. You can see the full list of institution’s committing to the Race to Zero here.

If you would like an alternative language sign up form please contact us.

If you are a pre-16 year old educational institution based in the UK you can commit at Let’s Go Zero.


Second Nature

Second Nature is committed to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education. This is accomplished by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions. Second Nature aims to align, amplify, and bridge the sector’s efforts with other global leaders to advance urgent climate priorities.

Email address: racetozero@secondnature.org

Webpage: https://secondnature.org/race-to-zero/

The Climate Leadership Network is a signature program of Second Nature that provides resources, networking, and national engagement opportunities for signatory institutions.

Signatories are colleges and universities in nearly all fifty states who are taking action on climate change and preparing students through research and education. Higher education institutions whose president/chancellor have made a formal commitment with respect to climate leadership on their campus by signing onto at least one of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, become Climate Leadership Network signatories.

The Climate Leadership Network is the longest standing, carbon neutrality commitment by any sector in the world. Beginning in 2006, more than 900 campuses in the United States have made a commitment to carbon neutrality. The Climate Leadership Network currently has 10 institutions that are carbon neutral.

Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network brings over 325 participating campuses to the Race to Zero campaign. You may view all Climate Leadership Network and Race to Zero participants at the following link https://reporting.secondnature.org/institution/data/.

For more information about Second Nature and the Climate Leadership Network, contact Steve Muzzy (smuzzy@secondnature.org), Senior Manager, Climate Programs.