Cambridge University commits to zero carbon emissions by 2048

The university has also pledged to reduce its 2015 carbon emission levels by 75% in time for 2030

The University of Cambridge has committed to zero carbon emissions by 2048.

By 2030, the university says its carbon emissions will be 75% lower than they were in 2015.

Although the target is set for 2048, the university has aspirations to beat that by a decade.

The important point about SBTs is that they are not arbitrary, but rather are robust and evidence-based – Dr Emily Shuckburgh

Prof Ian Leslie, senior adviser to the vice-chancellor, said: “As a world-leading university, we need to not only take responsibility for our own carbon emissions, but also to demonstrate to others what is achievable.

“By setting an ambitious target for carbon reduction and aiming to reach it a decade early, we hope to provide opportunities for others to learn from our approach, including where we are successful and areas that are found to be challenging.”

The pledge is based on Science Based Targets (SBT), which are independently set and based on the target made at the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep worldwide temperature increases below 1.5 degrees.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Cambridge University’s director of research on carbon neutrality, said: “The important point about SBTs is that they are not arbitrary, but rather are robust and evidence-based.”


Read more: Sussex University declares climate emergency


The pledge applies to the university’s direct emissions and the electricity the university purchases. Targets are being developed for other indirect emissions, such as the university’s supply chain and business travel.

The new commitment will apply to the university’s estate that directly supports its teaching and research activities. Targets will be set for the wider estate over the next three years.

The university has prioritised reducing the amount of gas it consumes, assessing the feasibility of solar energy on campus, switching to a zero-carbon electricity supplier and improving the energy efficiency of its buildings.


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