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Top universities for climate action 2022

Explore the top 100 universities for climate action, based on data collected as part of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

April 27 2022
Best universities for climate action


Warnings from environmentalists about the dangers of climate change have become louder and louder over the past few years. If we don’t drastically cut carbon emissions, there could be serious repercussions for the planet.

Many universities are providing great examples of how to combat climate change through pledging to hit zero carbon emissions, refitting buildings to be more energy efficient and arming students with the knowledge and skills to make individual changes.

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The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues, and one of them, SDG 13, covers climate action.

As part of the Impact Rankings, Times Higher Education has produced a ranking focusing on how universities are contributing to climate action. Some of the measures taken into account for the ranking are low-carbon energy use, the presence of a university-wide climate action plan, and working with local or national governments to address climate-change planning. You can read more about the methodology here.

Top five universities for climate action

1.University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania scored highly in a range of metrics for the SDG 13 climate action ranking including the number of climate action papers published, low carbon energy tracking, the number of local education programmes about climate and its commitment to carbon neutrality. 

The Climate Futures Research Group at the university works with industry and government agencies around Australia to create projections on the impact of climate change on a range of sectors including wine production and ski resorts. 

2. University of Victoria

The University of Victoria has a strategic framework in place outlining the measures it will take to tackle climate change by 2023. 

One of the measures laid out in the framework is to ensure that students are engaged with the principles of sustainability and have the opportunity to develop their knowledge in sustainable practices. 

The university is also currently in the process of consulting staff, students and the local community on a climate and sustainability action plan that will outline measurable outcomes for the university’s commitment to sustainability. The plan is set to launch in the autumn of 2022. 

3.Wageningen University & Research 

Wageningen University & Research has a number of courses for students to study in the area of climate action and sustainability. The master’s programme in climate studies looks at the socio-economic aspects of climate change and also gives the students the opportunity to specialise in an area of research they are most interested in. 

Wageningen Climate Solutions is dedicated to undertaking research in various areas of sustainability including agriculture, water management and circular solutions for waste. 

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4. Arizona State University (Tempe)

Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures aims to give students the opportunity to make a long-term impact. Students can enrol on courses that focus on sustainability and innovation. The institution also partners with community businesses and organisations to provide undergraduate and postgraduate research opportunities and internships.

Sustainability Connect is a platform that enables students to connect with sustainability projects and internships in the university and the wider community.

The university also achieved zero greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations in 2019, six years before its promised date of 2025.

5. King Abdulaziz University

King Abdulaziz University has a range of research centres conducting research into areas relating to the SDGs, and climate action in particular, including the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Studies, the Centre of Excellence for Climate Change Research and the Water Research Centre. 

The main aim of these research centres is to provide information to domestic and regional policymakers in order to implement sustainable practices within their climate action frameworks. 

Research areas include studying global climate change and its impact on Saudi Arabia and analysing the extremes of the climate for the Arabian Peninsula.

The top universities for climate action 2022: top 100

Climate Action Rank 2022 University Country/region
1 University of Tasmania Australia
2 University of Victoria Canada
3 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
4 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
5 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia
6 Université Laval Canada
7 University of British Columbia Canada
8 University at Buffalo United States
=9 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
=9 Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT Finland
11 University of Canterbury New Zealand
12 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
13 Bournemouth University United Kingdom
14 Charles Sturt University Australia
15 University of Plymouth United Kingdom
16 University of Newcastle Australia
17 University of Groningen Netherlands
18 University of Sussex United Kingdom
19 Aalborg University Denmark
=20 Concordia University Canada
=20 McGill University Canada
22 University of the Sunshine Coast Australia
23 Western Sydney University Australia
24 University of Exeter United Kingdom
25 Monash University Australia
=26 University of Manchester United Kingdom
=26 Newcastle University United Kingdom
28 Manchester Metropolitan University United Kingdom
=29 Queen’s University Canada
=29 Riga Technical University Latvia
31 Free University of Berlin Germany
32 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
33 University of Reading United Kingdom
=34 Massey University New Zealand
=34 Rovira i Virgili University Spain
=36 University of Gothenburg Sweden
=36 University of Leicester United Kingdom
=36 Northumbria University United Kingdom
39 UNSW Sydney Australia
40 University of Essex United Kingdom
41 Swansea University United Kingdom
42 King’s College London United Kingdom
=43 University of Auckland New Zealand
=43 University of Coimbra Portugal
=43 University of the West of England United Kingdom
46 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
47 University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro Portugal
=48 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
=48 UCL United Kingdom
50 Chiang Mai University Thailand
=51 Monterrey Institute of Technology Mexico
=51 University of Waikato New Zealand
53 University of Waterloo Canada
54 Simon Fraser University Canada
=55 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
=55 University of Portsmouth United Kingdom
=57 National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Taiwan
=57 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden
=59 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States
=59 University of Wah Pakistan
=59 The University of Western Australia Australia
62 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
63 University of Hull United Kingdom
64 Western University Canada
=65 Fudan University China
=65 University of Otago New Zealand
=65 Universiti Sains Malaysia Malaysia
68 Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
69 University of Surrey United Kingdom
70 Australian National University Australia
=71 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Spain
=71 University of Toronto Canada
73 University College Cork Ireland
=74 University of Maryland, Baltimore County United States
=74 RMIT University Australia
76 University of Aveiro Portugal
=77 University of Eastern Finland Finland
=77 La Trobe University Australia
79 Brunel University London United Kingdom
=80 Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium
=80 Pontifical Javeriana University Colombia
82 Ain Shams University Egypt
83 Cardiff University United Kingdom
=84 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
=84 University of Neuchâtel Switzerland
86 University of Greenwich United Kingdom
=87 Comillas Pontifical University Spain
=87 Michigan State University United States
=87 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
=87 Technological University Dublin Ireland
91 University of Stirling United Kingdom
92 Lovely Professional University India
93 Sakarya University Turkey
94 Lakehead University Canada
95 Sheffield Hallam University United Kingdom
96 Chitkara University India
97 Tohoku University Japan
98 Aswan University Egypt
=99 University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Pakistan
=99 University of Ottawa Canada
=99 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Chile

View the full ranking for climate action here

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