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UoB’s Guild of Students has officially declared a climate emergency

‘We can no longer delay action in tackling this crisis’

The Guild of Students has officially declared a state of climate and ecological emergency, resolving to to tackle "the climate crisis as an organisation."

They commit to embedding environmental sustainability within the Guild's overall plan, increasing use of renewable energy and promoting environmental sustainability on campus.

They have also promised to lobby for ethical investments and disinvestment from fossil fuels within the university's portfolio, and seek a higher percentage of renewable energy use on campus.

The statement was signed by the Guild President, Joshua Williams, Josh Dooler, the Sports Officer, and Nickie Williams, the Ethical and Environmental Officer. They put forth that the university "has a responsibility to commit to tackling the climate emergency."

"It is imperative that our institutions use their positions and power within the sector to actively fight the suffocating onset of climate change.

The Guild is urging the university to commit to "disinvestment from fossil fuels within its portfolio", saying that it would be "abject failure to the students the Guild of Students (the Guild) represents to ignore the crisis and the impact it will, and is, having on our planet."

This is particularly significant in the wake of the Independent report last month, revealing that the University of Birmingham was one of only three Russell Group Universities to not join the divestment campaign in any part.

Speaking to The Birmingham Tab, Joshua Williams said that "we can no longer delay action in tackling this crisis. Unions and university’s need to stand together in declaring a climate emergency and commit to ethical and sustainable strategy moving forwards.

"As President of the Guild of Students, I am proud to declare a state of climate and ecological emergency alongside the Officer team. As student representatives, we have a duty to do all in our power to represent, uplift and protect students.

"Going forwards, it is more important than ever that we as students come together, stand together and plan together about how best to tackle the crisis on our campus, in our community’s and in our world."

Josh Dooler, who is also the Chair of the Ethical and Environmental Committee, added that "declaring the climate emergency is a real positive step in the right direction to get the university to do the same. In the week before the Guild’s Go Green Week, we feel that this is an apt time to release our official statement."

The Guild is not the first students union in the UK to declare a climate emergency, with unions at Nottingham and York both having declared in 2019. The Universities of Bristol, Sussex and Cardiff have all declared a climate and emergency on an institutional level.

There have been an established foundation of environmental campaigning at UoB by the student body. In 2019, the student run organisation, UoB Fossil Free, delivered a petition to the university "demanding total divestment of university money in Fossil fuels companies and non-ethical investments."

Read the full statement from the Guild of Students here.