Inaugural Graduate Forum of Global Alliance of Universities on Climate

2019-11-20 | Education

Inaugural Graduate Forum of Global Alliance of Universities on Climate

Climate change is unfolding to a path of no return. It does not differentiate national boundaries, race, color, language, or culture. This is a common challenge facing all of humanity, and youth should become ambassadors of climate knowledge, practitioners of low-carbon lifestyles, an emerging workforce in environmental protection.




On November 17th, 2019, the "Graduate Forum of Global Alliance of Universities on Climate" and the "Tsinghua University Graduate International Academic Forum 2019" was jointly held at Tsinghua University, themed “Climate Change and Sustainable Development”. As the first student organized event from the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC), 150 students and faculties coming from six continents, nine countries and 55 institutions joined together in Beijing. Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University and founding chairman of GAUC, served as the chairman of the forum and delivered the opening speech. Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative of China ’s Climate Change Affairs, President of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development (ICCSD) at Tsinghua University, Honorary Chairman of the forum, and Lord Nicolas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Chairman of the alliance's academic committee, attended the event.

           

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Qiu Yong Giving Opening Remarks


Qiu Yong greeted the distinguished guests and youth leaders worldwide on behalf of Tsinghua University at the opening plenary. Reminiscing on the initiation of the alliance, he said: I hope the Graduate Forum of the alliance will build its foundation within the alliance and extend its influence to other educational institutions around the world. Climate change is a common challenge faced by humanity, regardless of national boundaries, race, language, or culture. Youth across the globe should joint effort in combating climate change and create a sustainable future.


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At the Main Plenary


The three-day forum included the main plenary, parallel sessions, poster sessions, youth roundtables, and welcome receptions. This forum provided a platform for academic exchanges, fostering discussions such as the earth's trajectory and humanity's future. At the same time, Tsinghua students also initiated "Low-Carbon Campus Culture Week." The week included initiatives such as environmental art exhibitions, zero food waste challenges, and carbon credit mini-program (applications based on the WeChat ecosystem). These initiatives stimulated a trending low-carbon campus lifestyle. They provided a common ground for these global youth representatives to emerge themselves in a truly multi-cultural environment.

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Group Photo


Communicate

Climate Ambassador


With "Climate Change and Sustainable Development" as the theme of the forum, two parallel sessions were held: "Zero Emission Technical Revolution" and "Building Green Future: Economic-Social-Ecological System." Xie Zhenghua, President of ICCSD, was invited to give a special report. He states that addressing climate change is of global emergency, countries should increase their efforts in combating climate change, integrating environmental factors in different aspects of the economy and society to fundamentally improve the environment. Lord Nicolas Stern also presented in the keynote report, and he shared how to efficiently carry out the "zero-carbon" transition from the perspective of economic. He believes there is still a huge potential for advancement in technology, policy, business model, urban planning, natural resources management, and other aspects of human activity. Later, Professor He Jiankun, Professor Li Zheng, Professor Qi Ye of the School of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University, Professor Qi Ye of the School of Public Policy, Professor Cameron Hepburn of Oxford University and other industry experts and scholars were also invited to the joint discussion with students.


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XIE Zhenhua, President of ICCSD, Sharing on Climate Actions

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Lord Nicolas Stern during his Keynote Report

Participants from alliance universities engaged in many heated discussions during the parallel sessions and poster sessions on emissions reduction of carbon and other pollutants, developments on the non-fossil fuel transportation technologies, carbon market, carbon pricing, and green finance.


Habiba Ahut Daggash, a graduate student at the Grantham Institute of Imperial College of Technology, was the winner for best paper and best presentation. She said this forum presented a unique opportunity for the collision of ideas from various disciplines. Experts from a diverse range of expertise worked together to tackle a common challenge. As a technical researcher in energy systems, she cherishes the opportunity to discuss with policymakers directly. Carlos Eduardo Paes, a graduate student from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, thought the forum was inspirational and motivating. He said: we are a part of the earth's ecosystem. Not only should we have awareness about our impact on nature, but we should also act on improving the environment through our daily actions.


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Student Presenting at the Presentation at the Forum

 微信图片_20200528155011.jpg   Poster Session

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Heated Discussion Among Participants


Act

Low-Carbon Lifestyle Practioner

In light of the forum, the Graduate Union of Tsinghua University organized a series of events to raise awareness about daily actions that have an environmental impact. Students introduced a mini-program for carbon credits. The WeChat mini-program aims at promoting a low-carbon lifestyle through credits issued for participation in the zero food waste challenge, green transportation, and second-hand market. Environmental Cultural Week attracted the participation of more than 4,000 students cumulatively.


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Review of the Environmental Cultural Week


During the week, students also collected waste materials such as recycled bottles, food packages, cardboards, and made them into interactive art installations, participated in environment awareness competition for photography and paintings. Some works are showcased in the "When Art Meets Climate" exhibition.

                       

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Art Installations Made from Recycled Materials


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"Art Meets Climate" Exhibition


In addition, student associations such as the Tsinghua University Student Green Association carried out awareness-raising activities such as waste classification quiz, paper reproduction, and slow filter experience. They launched the "plastic-free coffee" flashmob. Also, to welcome the youth representatives around the world, Tsinghua students prepared the performances of Chinese artistic Kungfu, Peking opera, "When you Believe" Akabella chorus and other performances.


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Artistic Kungfu and Peking Opera Performances at the Welcoming Recption


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Akabella Chorus's Performance of《When you Believe》at the Opening Plenary


The author:ISCCD

The translator:Lucy Tony

The Editor  Haijing Ma

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