The Australian National University has become the first university in the country to commit to lowering its carbon emissions to below zero by 2030, reports ABC Australia.
The decision forms part of The ANU’s Below Zero Initiative which seeks to set a leadership example in tackling climate change.
REACHING BELOW ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS AN “AMBITIOUS” TARGET
The ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said the university has also committed to net-zero emissions by 2025. This is an interim target on the path towards their ultimate target of below zero. The vice-chancellor said:
“Achieving below zero is ambitious and it will involve big changes to the way we do things — but as the national university, we must show leadership in driving a societal transformation to address climate change.”
The ANU is the second university in the world to announce a plan of action to commit to below zero emissions. The other is a university in Finland.
ANU AIMS TO REACH TARGET BY TRANSITIONING OFF GAS, CUTTING TRAVEL
The ANU estimate that its current production of CO2 is in the region of 55 000 tonnes yearly. This comes mainly from work travel and natural gas use.
Professor Mark Howden, Director of the university’s Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions said actions will include:
“Simple things like making [the ANU’s] buildings more energy efficient, less leaky in terms of losing heat or gaining cold depending on the season, replacing gas heaters with electric heaters, ensuring the building usage is appropriate; not cooling or heating or lighting rooms that aren’t being used.”
He added that the university will also be moving away from fossil-fuel based vehicles in favour of electric vehicles. They will also work on cutting work travel as much as possible.