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Physics, climate change and sustainability

Physics and physicists are playing a vital role in helping meet the challenge of climate change.


Combating climate change and building a thriving, environmentally-sustainable economy presents us with enormous challenges, as well as opportunities. The forthcoming COP26 Conference in Glasgow emphasises the urgency of this task and the scale of the difficulties we face. To cut carbon emissions and other damaging pollution we need new technologies which can cut emissions and bring new sources of energy into affordable use.

Physicists have a crucial role to play in this work and are responsible for innovations ranging from low-energy computing to breakthroughs in solar and wind power and the battery technology which is needed to store energy drawn from new sources. The IOP and its allied physical societies across the world are committed to supporting physicists in this work, and in ensuring they have the investment, networks and working environment they need to succeed in this vital endeavour. 

The IOP and its greenhouse gas emissions 

We recognise we have a role to play in cutting harmful emissions. We have started work on measuring our carbon footprint with a view to reducing it. Our new London headquarters at 37 Caledonian Road has been designed to minimise its environmental impact, with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity, rain water recycling and innovative heat pumps which draw energy from underground for heating. Additional electricity we use at the building is also drawn entirely from sustainable sources. 

The IOP’s investment policy

We are reviewing our investment policy with a view to better using our financial resources to combat climate change.