ANU Below Zero Initiative

Transformational change is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C, including rapid reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the implementation of technologies which remove and store GHGs from the atmosphere.

Simply reducing our emissions to net-zero is no longer enough to maintain a safe and stable climate. We need to reduce emissions to below net zero. As the national university, ANU has a responsibility to lead the nation in line with world's best practice on emissions reduction.

In February 2020, the ANU Council passed a resolution recognizing the urgency of action to address climate change and committing to "minimising the University's greenhouse gas emissions footprint through its own operations, in line with commitments to be greenhouse gas negative as soon as possible".

ANU is in a unique position to lead societal transformation by combining on-campus climate action with our world-leading climate and energy research and teaching to develop innovative solutions at an institutional level. The University has the capacity to promote these innovations and provide leadership to other organisations in Australia and worldwide.

Development of ANU Below Zero strategy

The University is exploring options for how we can become carbon negative. This could encompass a range of broad approaches:

  • Taking action to reduce on-campus and energy related emissions (scope 1&2 emissions)
  • Reducing emissions associated with business travel (partial scope 3 emissions)
  • Evaluating actions to reduce other significant emissions, including commuter travel, ANU investments, waste, purchasing and procurement (scope 3 emissions)
  • Offsetting ANU emissions using socially responsible Australian offsets
  • Developing ANU approaches to actively remove GHGs from the atmosphere including research into innovative negative emission technologies

From 31 August to 4 September 2020, ANU researchers from the Research School of Psychology, Dr Samantha Stanley and Dr Zoe Leviston, undertook a baseline survey into attitudes towards climate change and emissions reduction amongst the ANU student and staff community. 

From 8 September – 20 October 2020, ANU ran University-wide and public consultation seeking ideas to inform the ANU Below Zero strategy. 

Ideas developed in the survey and consultation will be integrated with these approaches to develop the ANU Below Zero strategy.