Climate Action & Sustainability

UNSW hosts over 700 academic staff undertaking research in climate change science, impacts, adaptation, mitigation, solutions, and policy across more than 30 Centres and Institutes, spanning 6 Faculties and over 40 schools. This includes foundational climate science as well as research into the impacts of climate change on security, law, policy, health, ecosystems, tourism, biodiversity, the built environment, coastal infrastructure, energy, decarbonisation, and water management.

In 2022, UNSW was recognised by Nature as the highest-ranking institute in physical sciences in Australia and 31st internationally for earth and environmental sciences. UNSW has unparalleled breadth and depth of research capabilities in climate research to support both government and industry in navigating the complex interactions between climate risk, impacts, adaptation, and solutions. UNSW is the national lead in its capabilities in climate change and climate-related research.

Notable Research Highlights and Facilities

The UNSW Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) hosts the ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes (CLEX), and previously the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS). The CCRC is Australia's largest centre focused on the physical and biophysical aspects of climate change, spanning atmospheric, oceanic, ice, and land-climate processes. Comprising over 80 staff/PhD, CCRC staff advise business, government, and community on climate change and climate risk for better decision making.

The SIRF hosts a world-class manufacturing facility that enables the development of UNSW's solicon solar cell technologies. Globally over 90% of all solar modules produced today are based on UNSW technology. UNSW also funds educational programs to develop solar systems in Fiji in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the University of the South Pacific (USP).

UNSW hosts the GOAP Secretariat. GOAP is a global partnership established to bring together governments, international organisations, and research institutions to build a global community of practice for ocean accounting.

The Decarbonisation Hub hosted by UNSW Sydney is a key part of the NSW Government's Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program, bringing together government, industry, and researchers to fast-track technologies to decarbonise NSW and beyond.

The UNSW Resilient Futures Collective was established in response to increasing cyclone, flood, drought, and bushfire hazards, to operate through a wide lens of disaster risk reduction and resilience, to address the emergent needs of communities, local, state and federal government, as well as the private sector.

The UNSW WRL will lead the hydrologic aspects of the Commonwealth Clean Energy Regulator's 'Blue Carbon Method'. The federal government has approved the first blue carbon method under the Emissions Reduction Fund that generates Australian Carbon Credits when restoring tidal flows to blue carbon ecosystems.

The CES is a unique unit within UNSW, with excellent researchers in ecosystem science and a diverse range of scientific expertise in terrestrial ecology (arid zones, forests), wetlands, marine ecosystems, GIS (geographic information systems), remote sensing and the use of conservation tools.