Why is ANU offsetting? Shouldn't we prioritise not polluting in the first place? Is ANU planning to buy their way out of polluting via offsets?
ANU Below Zero operates under the principle of reducing our emissions first and using offsets only for emissions that are very difficult to abate. For example, there are many currently deployable technologies for transitioning energy away from fossil fuels and towards zero-emissions sources, so ANU will invest in reducing these emissions as quickly as possible, minimising the use of offsets. By contrast, the emissions produced during business travel do not have the same availability of low- or no-emissions substitutes, so ANU will need to offset these emissions until low or zero emissions travel options (for example, in aviation) become available.
Not only is ANU looking to offset its difficult-to-abate emissions, we are also seeking to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we put in, as removing carbon from the atmosphere in addition to reducing emissions is now required to limit climate change.
What is ANU doing to reduce emissions?
ANU Below Zero has gone through a major strategic planning phase and is moving into the implementation of these plans. We have a number of pilots and projects running in 2023 and beyond.
For example, ANU is implementing a pilot electrification process whereby seven end-of-life gas boilers will be replaced with electric heat pumps. We are also decarbonising infrastructure at University House and the School of Art and Design, in parallel with hail remediation work. Jointly this will reduce our emissions by 588 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The next tranche of boiler replacements is being scoped to accelerate this transition.
Good quality data are a critical part of delivering on our commitments. There has been significant work done to enhance our visibility of emissions across the scope of ANU activities. We will launch a monitoring system of all ANU greenhouse emissions, including a new energy dashboard to provide greater transparency around energy use, later this year.
What are co-benefits in offsetting?
Co-benefits are positive, non-mitigation impacts that occur alongside activities that remove carbon from the atmosphere. Some of the University's priority co-benefits include: supporting First Nations' connections to Country and traditional knowledge, biodiversity conservation and landscape regeneration, improved water quality and supply, and enhancing adaptation to climate change.
Is ANU using its own land to offset?
Yes, ANU is currently scoping how ANU campuses and land holdings can contribute to our carbon removal goals.
Who are we buying credits from?
ANU is currently conducting a review of carbon credits available for purchase to determine which, if any, meet our Principles.
Is ANU planning to talk to the Australian Federal Government about best practice in carbon removal space? Have ANU experts been involved with the Chubb review of the Australian carbon credit market? Has Professor Andrew Macintosh and other ANU experts in carbon removal been a part of this process?
Yes, ANU researchers were involved in calling for an investigation into the Australian carbon credit market, leading to the announcement of the Independent Review of the Australian Carbon Credit Market. Several teams and individuals around ANU have provided submissions to the Review and have participated in the consultation process to improve the Australian carbon credit market. ANU will seek to collaborate with the Federal Government following the release of the Review's findings in December 2022 to ensure market and credit integrity, accountability and quality.