The commitments are not binding but each staff member is expected to set concrete, personal reduction targets that go beyond what they would otherwise have done. LUCSUS will track and collect all carbon emissions for one year to start with.
The travel policy includes recommendations for ground travel for distances within 12 hours reach, and for all destinations within Sweden. Other centre on considering opportunities for virtual meetings, following conferences on social media, and to make sure that all staff who travel have a key role at the destination. For longer travel, where you have to fly, staff are asked to consider pursuing additional activities such as teaching at an institution for example to maximise the benefits of the trip.
– This travel policy is the result of serious and lively dialogue within our institution. Climate change is real and so are the structures and reward systems that we live by. We recognize that change is not straightforward, nevertheless it is important to explore ways to reduce our emissions as an organisation, we follow in the footsteps of others, says LUCSUS Director Emily Boyd.
Wim Carton is environmental officer at LUCSUS, and the one responsible for drafting the strategy based on feedback from all staff at LUCSUS.
He says that the new global carbon budget released last week showed that emissions for 2018 are set to show the largest increase in years. This is at the same time that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, states that a rapid and drastic transformation in all aspects of society is needed to avoid dangerous climate change, and that United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, notes that the rate of decarbonization needs to increase five-fold in order to stay within 1.5C.
–This is nothing less than an emergency situation, and it needs to be handled as such. It is no longer possible for researchers – who generally emit much more than the general public – to stand by the sideline, or to pretend that the discrepancy between climate research and academia’s carbon footprint is not a problem.
He continues: – Academia has a responsibility to walk the talk on climate change, and demonstrate that a rapid transformation to a low-carbon society is both viable and desirable. While this travel policy does not yet go as far as it should go, it is a first important step to move forward.
Download the LUCSUS travel policy
LUCSUS senior lecturer Kimberly Nicholas has assembled research on academics flying less, available here