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Tertiary Education in a Warming World

Kelly, Orla; Illingworth, Sam; Butera, Fabrizio; Steinberger, Julia; Blaise, Mindy; Dawson, Vaille; Huynen, Maud; Martens, Pim; Bailey, Susan; Savage, Glenn; White, Peta; Schuitema, Geertje; Cowman, Sian


Orla Kelly

Fabrizio Butera

Julia Steinberger

Mindy Blaise

Vaille Dawson

Maud Huynen

Pim Martens

Susan Bailey

Glenn Savage

Peta White

Geertje Schuitema

Sian Cowman


Higher education institutes have a critical role to play in driving the scientific, political, technological, and cultural change needed to avoid the worst-case climate change scenarios, and in advancing the societal adaptive capacities needed to meet the ongoing challenges posed by the ongoing environmental crises.

In response to the intensification of the environmental problems, growing numbers of institutes of higher education are declaring climate emergencies and making public commitments to supporting and contributing to the realisation of global environmental and social goals. Further, many dedicated individuals working in the sector are already driving meaningful action through rigorous research, teaching, knowledge sharing, and public engagement. There is a growing consensus that sector-wide change is needed to ensure that aspirational declarations and positive individual actions translate into sustainable and transformative change.

To contribute to such efforts the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Education in a Warming World Research Consortium is launching the Tertiary Education in a Warming World report.

It is intended to be a resource to other academics and policymakers who are also grappling with promoting a robust climate change and sustainability agenda within tertiary education.

The report illustrates a number of trends, examples, and reflections on how third-level educational institutes can work towards creating a more sustainable future. Drawing on Tristan McCowan’s framework, we focus on five modalities of third-level institutional operations, to provide an analytical lens to understand better the complex interplay between higher education institutes, societies, and climate change.


Kelly, O., Illingworth, S., Butera, F., Steinberger, J., Blaise, M., Dawson, V., …Cowman, S. (2022). Tertiary Education in a Warming World. Worldwide Universities Network

Report Type Research Report
Acceptance Date Mar 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2022
Publication Date Mar 22, 2022
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2022
Pages 1-24
ISBN 978-1-910963-54-8
Public URL
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Tertiary Education In A Warming World (915 Kb)

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This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. You are free to share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, as long as you give credit to the authors, you do not modify the material, and you do not use the material for commercial purposes

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