Climate change is already here. The past decade includes nine of the ten hottest years on record around the world - 2019 was Australia's hottest year ever. Australia is the most vulnerable of all OECD countries to climate change.
Under the Paris Agreement, governments around the world have committed to limit global warming to well-below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and if possible to 1.5°C. However, the world is on track to warm by between 2.8 ºC and 3.2ºC by the end of this century.
In response, the ANU Council has committed the University to the following greenhouse gas reduction targets:
- By 2025: Net-zero emissions for direct on-campus activities, energy, business travel and waste. The focus will be on practical emissions reductions first and foremost, only using high-quality Australian-purchased carbon offsets as a back up.
- By 2030: Below-zero emissions (for the scope outlined above) drawing down emissions on ANU land or using carbon offsets that integrate ANU research and teaching activities.
- Beyond 2030: Progressively draw down emissions accumulated earlier, starting with those accumulated over the lifetime of the Below Zero Initiative.
All other indirect emissions from procurement of goods and services and commuter travel will be reduced as rapidly as possible, based on international best-practice for the university sector.
In adopting these targets, ANU seeks to take a leadership position in addressing climate change, using our influence as the national university to encourage others to take more action.
Our targets have been informed by the following:
- The ANU Below Zero Management Group, which has been meeting monthly since March 2020
- The ANU Below Zero Advisory Committee, a high-level advisory committee that comprises internal and external stakeholders, experts and representatives from different parts of the University.
- A baseline survey into attitudes towards climate change and emissions reduction. The survey was conducted by researchers, Dr Samantha Stanley and Dr Zoe Leviston, from the Research School of Psychology, in August 2020.
University-wide and public consultation seeking ideas to inform the ANU Below Zero Strategy. The results of the consultation are provided here.