As world leaders gather in Glasgow at the COP26 Climate Change Conference, Oxford Brookes University has joined other organisations around the globe in declaring a climate emergency. The University has also launched a new carbon reduction strategy which aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, ten years ahead of the UK legislative deadline.
A responsibility to take action and find solutions
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Professor Alistair Fitt, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and we can already see the serious impacts it is having across the world.
“At Oxford Brookes we have a deep commitment to sustainability and the environment, and in declaring a climate emergency we add our voice to those globally who want to address the crisis. This announcement signals that we care about our impact and that we have a responsibility to take further action, now.
“Universities have a key role in helping to address global issues and challenges – our research, teaching and innovative collaborations can help find solutions to the critical issue of climate change.”
Net zero by 2040
Oxford Brookes has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and has already achieved its 2025 target of reducing carbon emissions by 35% – some 5,000 tonnes. The new strategy sets a target of reducing emissions from our buildings and infrastructure and purchased electricity by 68% by 2030, and intend to achieve net zero by 2040 – where only unavoidable emissions are offset.
In the last year Oxford Brookes has invested heavily in low carbon technologies. It has doubled its installation of solar panels on campus and continues to optimise the performance of campus buildings. The University is also set to review all of its indirect emissions, bringing further understanding of its environmental impacts, and driving the organisation towards net zero by 2040. Earlier this year, Oxford Brookes signed up to the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions as a city by 2040.
Development welcomed by students
Tannah Collier, President of Brookes Union said: “We’re delighted that the university is taking a stand against the impact of the climate emergency. Sustainability and reducing carbon emissions are big concerns for students – last year we passed a motion to lobby the University to do more to address climate change, and we are pleased that our views have been taken into account in creating the new carbon reduction strategy. There is always more to be done in creating a more sustainable future at Brookes but we welcome this development and thank all the staff who have worked hard to make this happen urgently in time for COP26.”
Further information on the University’s sustainability activities can be found on the Oxford Brookes website.