GW4 launches Accelerate to Net Zero to tackle global carbon emissions

February 11, 2021

The GW4 Alliance (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter Universities) has launched a collaborative project aimed at accelerating to net zero across South West England and Wales, helping the UK reach its ambitious target of hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

As a regional anchor, GW4 aims to lead the UK and the world in accelerating to net zero emissions. The project will:

  • reach further (beyond our region, beyond academia and beyond disciplines);
  • support faster implementation of new and existing technological solutions; and
  • deliver fairer, more equitable, net zero transitions co-created with our partners, for the benefit of all.

Applying a whole systems approach, the project will focus on key themes in which GW4 has internationally competitive and complementary strength across the universities – energy, transport, land use and food.

The project’s ambitious aim is to turn our GW4 region into a whole system net zero testbed, where ideas and innovative solutions can be trialled and advanced. GW4’s regional diversity provides a unique opportunity to explore and test equitable transitions to net zero. As a living lab testbed for energy, transport, land use and food transitions, the project will explore interdependences and opportunities that can be applied across the UK and beyond.

The project will start with a series of workshops with our leading academics and key stakeholders from the public, private and third sector focusing on the theme areas and the social and economic implications of net zero. GW4 academics will work with government, industry, and civil society to better understand the challenges and priorities faced by different sectors in our region. Together we will produce a shared vision and identify opportunities to collaborate on innovative solutions.

Professor Jonathan Knight, Chair of GW4 Board and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath said: “Without greater successful interventions dedicated to supporting transformations towards net-zero emissions, climate change will have a catastrophic effect on society. However, achieving net zero is a complex and global challenge, which will require unprecedented activity and integration of UK research and innovation into all sectors of society.

“In meeting this challenge, we will harness our research excellence, regional assets, and world-class facilities to drive innovation, forge a green recovery from COVID-19, and place our region and the UK at the forefront of global efforts to reach net zero.

“Our whole-systems solutions will address socioeconomic inequalities and together with our partners we will produce a shared vision which delivers for the region in its fullest sense and achieves accelerated and equitable transitions to net zero.”

Download the GW4 Accelerating to Net Zero Leaflet (.pdf)

Read more about our Accelerating to Net Zero project