In Pictures: Cambridge colleges graded on climate policy

Only Jesus College, Cambridge passed the exam

Last week (19/11), Climate League of Cambridge and Oxford (CLOC) released its ranking of the Oxbridge Colleges’ climate action and pledges.

Student activists display Gonville and Caius’ score outside the college (photo credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Zak Colemen, Cambridge SU undergraduate president and coordinator of the action told the Tab, “the idea was to channel the healthy spirit of competition in to some actual real action on climate change and the climate crisis from colleges, which our rankings show are overwhelming failing to meet even basic standards.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Zak continued, “The vast majority don’t even have target dates for eliminating their emissions; the ones that do its not for all of their emissions.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Zak told us the campaign used terms that “the scientists had set, not necessarily those the colleges have set to make them look good. We have to tell the truth, and on so many metrics the colleges are failing and we don’t have time to lie to ourselves and live in a fantasy land about this.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Zak also told us that, “Students have been trying to work within college systems for years and years and years, and the reality is we are at such a crisis point in terms of the climate emergency that we need to hold these public institutions accountable because of their enormous amount of wealth… If wealthy Cambridge colleges who have billions in assets, can’t tackle this climate emergency head on, we have no hope.”

Activists outside Corpus Christi (Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Cressie Gethin, a first year music student from Murray Edwards (who were awarded the lowest grade in Cambridge), told us “I was very very surprised that Murray Edwards came out bottom of the league tables for their climate policies because I had imagined it was something they would have cared about and been active on.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Harvey Brown, a second year English student at Jesus College (the top ranked college across Oxbridge with a C-grade) and member of the Jesus College Climate Campaign said the grade was “a testament to years of student activism.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Harvey also told us, “The fact that Jesus College was the highest ranked out of all the Oxbridge colleges, and the fact that it is only on a C, really shows how far we’ve still got to go.”

Harvey Brown in front of Gonville and Caius (Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Harvey explained that Jesus “still has no publicly available policy on how to deal with banks which are responsible for funding fossil fuels to the tune of billions and billions every year.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Zak added, “So many [colleges] still have not divested from fossil fuels, which should be the absolute bare minimum.”

Activist in Trinity Hall with its ‘U’ certificate (Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

The colleges were ranked out of 100 on their climate policy, with Jesus College Cambridge scoring 67/100. They were ranked on 3 areas: Decarbonisation, Delinking (from fossil fuels), and Divestment.

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

CLOC used publicly available data to rank the colleges, and also contacted them to allow them to make available any further climate related college policies.

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

CLOC as a name references the countdown for humanity, with the website stating: “It’s never been more clear that it is “Code Red for Humanity… ​Time to wake up. The CLOC’s ticking.”

(Photo Credit: Rosie Smart-Knight)

More information about the CLOC campaign can be found at

All colleges and the university were contacted for comment. 

Cover Image: Author’s Own