University of Leicester fails to sign up to COP26 declaration

The University of Leicester has chosen not to sign up to the COP26 University declaration for reasons that are yet to be made public.

They are part of the COP26 Universities Network that is comprised of over 55 UK-based universities working to raise ambition and awareness about the COP26 Climate Change Conference.

Camilia Amouzegar, Project Director of the Pro Bono Climate Crisis group, stated: “we’re just shocked that they’re not helping themselves. There’s just so many other universities signing on that it looks bad.”

In 2020 the University divested from fossil fuels after a campaign led by two students, Meggie Eloy and Carla Field, who were part of Plan-It Change’s Society.

The Pro Bono Climate Crisis project has started a petition to compel the University to sign the declaration, gaining 69 signatures as of November 24.

Student petition to compel University of Leicester to sign COP26 declaration

Camilia stated: “we’ve started a petition, to remark our outrage and make students aware that they haven’t signed. Everyone that has signed the petition wasn’t aware of this.

“The fact is, the University of Leicester will not tell our students that they haven’t signed it.” 

The University has produced documents that detail the reasons why they have chosen not to sign up to the declaration, but these are unavailable to students, the public, or the media to see.

Camilia stated: “This COP26 agreement is on the surface to help the government reach net zero, to introduce a more sustainable infrastructure within their own university and bring in more sustainable practices in the university and surrounding community.

“The fact is, the University of Leicester will not tell our students that they haven’t signed it.” 

“We can’t really come up with any reasons why they have said no. It impresses me that they have pages of reasons.”

Societies at the University have formed a Green Bubble group with the Students’ Union to oppose, as well as, raise awareness of this decision.

“We will use our legal capacity to look at policy work. Then the other groups on campus can look at their different areas, whether that is recycling or creating tech on campus.” Arshdip Singh, Deputy Director of the Pro Bono Climate Crisis group, said.

“Ultimately, what it comes down to is money, so if someone could run the numbers, and you can see it as being financially viable, that all of a sudden changes the picture for the University.”

The University did not respond to requests for a comment.

Image: Ellie Fleury

Toby Cray is a final-year journalism student and the magazine’s Vice President. You can find him on Twitter here.

You can read Toby’s satirical work on his personal blog.

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