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Higher education leaders launch an appeal for students to be educated on climate issues

Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique, joined 79 heads of higher education institutions and 1,000 teacher-researchers to call for the training of all students in ecological and climate issues, in an article published on September 14 in the “Journal de Dimanche” (JDD).

80 French higher education leaders launch an appeal to educate all students in ecological and climate issues.

80 heads of higher education institutions and 1,000 researchers are sounding the alarm, among them Eric Labaye, President of École Polytechnique. In an article published on 14 September in the JDD, these signatories highlight the insufficient place of climate and energy issues in French higher education courses: less than a quarter of the courses cover these subjects.

While the latest results of climate prediction models are alarming, the 80 leaders are asking the government to allocate the necessary resources to remedy this situation. "No student should be able to complete higher education training without having understood the causes and consequences of climate change and worked, at their own level, to identify possible solutions", they argue.

On this subject, at its RefleXions symposium on sustainable development on 7 June 2019, École Polytechnique committed to educate 100% of its students, in particular in the form of a three-day seminar moderated by renowned speakers on environmental themes: the history of life and the limits of the planet; the impact of human activities, risks and trajectories; and change management and transition models.

This appeal comes in response to the mobilisation of students, as expressed by the launch, in September 2018, of a manifesto for an ecological awakening by students from École Polytechnique, the ENS, HEC, Centrale Supélec and AgroParisTech. Corentin Bisot, an École Polytechnique student at the origin of the manifesto, stated that "all students must be able to benefit from environmental education" and stressed that "sustainable development must not be a speciality but, on the contrary, must be integrated into the curriculum and throughout the entire tuition".

Among the signatories of the article "Let's train all students on climate issues”: Joël Alexandre (University of Rouen), David Alis (Rennes I), Jean-Christophe Camart (University of Lille), Laurent Champaney (Arts and Métiers), Philippe Choquet (UniLaSalle), Tawhid Chtioui (EMLyon), Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi (Essec) Jean-François Fiorina (GEM), François Germinet (University of Cergy-Pontoise), Patrick Gilli (Montpellier III), Isabelle Huault (Paris-Dauphine), Éric Labaye, (École Polytechnique), Vincent Laflèche (Mines ParisTech), Emmanuel Métais (Edhec), Marc Mézard (ENS Ulm), Frédéric Mion (Sciences Po Paris), Sophie Mougard (ENPC), Eloïc Peyrache (HEC), Yves Poilane (Télécom Paris), Arnaud Poitou (Centrale Nantes), Sylvie Retailleau (Paris-Saclay), Alain Sarfati (Paris-Sud), Gilles Trystram (AgroParisTech).