Carbon Offsets Daily

Daily carbon offset news, insight, community.

  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 31st, 2009
  • Category: UK
  • Comments: None

Funding body tells universities to cut carbon quick


| Sourced From Guardian.co.uk |

Universities should exceed ambitious national targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the government’s higher education funding body said today.

Launching a new consultation on how the higher education sector can reduce its carbon footprint, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) said universities should aspire to cutting emissions 50% by 2020 against 1990 levels, and 100% by 2050. The 2020 aspiration is much tougher than the government’s legally-binding target of reducing national emissions by 34% in the same time frame. The consultation also reiterates the government’s previous proposal to link universities’ funding to their greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 2011.

Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, which also worked on the proposals, said: “We support this goal. Universities, as educators, have been playing a vital role in moving the sustainability development agenda forward, and seeking a reduction in carbon emissions is key to this.”

Universities will find steep carbon-reduction targets challenging because of an expansion in student numbers and demand for longer opening hours, but experts believe the proposals are realistic.

Richard Rugg, head advisor to the public sector at the Carbon Trust, said: “The proposed targets are a good thing. Expecting higher education to sign up to the same commitment as the UK is only reasonable, while the more ambitious target of halving emissions in the next 10 years is certainly achievable; some universities working us with are on track to do this in only five or six years.”

Rugg added that much of the savings could be made in simple energy-efficiency measures in old university buildings, pointing to work the University of Cambridge had already done to improve heating and cooling controls, automated lighting and insulation in its building stock.

The higher education sector’s total emissions output was 2.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1990, which has since risen by 34% to 3.3m tonnes in 2006.

The consultation, which runs until October, looks at how universities can cut their emissions through transport, buildings’ energy use and procurement of goods and services, though it makes clear that it will be for individual institutions to decide how they’ll meet the targets.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

© 2009 Carbon Offsets Daily. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress.