University of Cambridge adopts science-based carbon reduction target

The University of Cambridge has become the first university in the world to adopt a 1.5 degrees science based target for carbon reduction.

On 25 July, the university announced it had committed to reducing its energy-related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048 along with a targeted 75% decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030. It will aim to be 10 years ahead of its decarbonisation pathway at all times, meaning it is looking to actually reach zero carbon as early as 2038.

The commitment will initially apply to the university’s operational estate, while science-based targets are developed for its wider estate and activities over the next three years. Work already underway includes exploring options to cut the amount of gas used for space and water heating; assessing the feasibility of developing a solar farm on the university’s land; sourcing all electricity from zero carbon sources; and a programme of energy efficiency improvements across the university’s estate.

Professor Ian Leslie said: “As a world-leading University, we need to not only take responsibility for our own carbon emissions, but also to demonstrate to others what is achievable. By setting an ambitious target for carbon reduction and aiming to reach it a decade early, we hope to provide opportunities for others to learn from our approach, including where we are successful and areas that are found to be challenging.”

University of Cambridge