BOKU on its way to climate neutrality
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A two-thirds reduction in emissions by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2040 as a long-term goal of climate neutrality (net zero emissions).
In order to successfully counteract the advancing climate crisis, one of the most pressing challenges of our time, rapid, joint efforts are needed.
BOKU has therefore set itself the medium-term goal of reducing two-thirds of its annual emissions by 2030 (reference year 2019).
However, the BOKU longterm climate neutrality goal goes beyond 2030: by 2040 BOKU wants to reach the state of Net-Zero Emissions by reducing 90% of its yearly emissions (reference year 2019) and offsetting residual emissions using carbon credits. This goal is based on the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) which is compatible with the 1.5-Degrees-Goal of the Paris Agreement. Starting in 2030, the abated emissions should be offsetted using carbon credits.
These climate goals were accepted and signed by the BOKU rectorate and can be downloaded here: Der BOKU Grundsatzbeschluss zum Download
BOKU on the way to climate neutrality
Implementation – how do we reach the planned reduction?
in the following some measures and planned acitivites are described:
We have managed to take a big step regarding the emission reductions with the use of certified (UZ-46) green electricity since January 1, 2021. About one third of BOKU's overall emissions could be reduced due to this measure (reference year 2019).
Energy use in general is continiously reduced by improving energy efficiencies, by demand-oriented regulation of energy-.systems at BOKU, by improved/adapted constructional elements and as well by changed individual behaviour. For more information, see BOKU Save-Energy-Campaign.
Additionally, in the category mobility, further measures are implemented. Firstly, a new guideline on business trips addressing sustainable travel issues was developed. Secondly, information, tips and reports on experiences regarding the topic "Green Travel" are supposed to support BOKU students when doing student exchanges and employees when doing business trips. In the future, it is planned to extend the incentives for sustainable traveling.
In the Network for Environmental Management (NUM), we are continiuously working on detailed implementation plans.
The BOKU greenhouse gas balance
Since 2013, the BOKU Centre for Global Change and Sustainability yearly calculates the BOKU greenhouse gas balances. The greenhouse gas balance is an important control and management tool and basis for stategic decisions and goals regarding climate protection. The greenhouse gas balance 2019 is the starting point for the BOKU climate neutrality goals.
BOKU greenhouse gas emissions in t CO2eq.
For more information on the BOKU greenhouse gas balance see BOKU Sustainability Report (in German, from page 86)
Note on business trips & student exchanges:
Due to the Covid-pandemic, the emissions that are caused by business trips and student exchanges decreased significantly in the years 2020 and 2021. In 2022, travel activities have increased again whereas for certain routes a shift from the plane to the train can be observed. However, the exact impact will be calculated in the CO2 balance of 2022. Furthermore, it is clear that we still need continuous measures in order to decrease the emissions that result from plane travels in the long run.
Climate neutrality - what is meant?
A consistent and transparent use of the term "climate neutrality" is a challenge since there is no universal definition. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion in the practical use of this term with other terms like "CO2-neutral" or "Net-Zero". All the more, it is very important to us to describe what we mean by "climate neutrality".
BOKU based its understanding of climate neutrality on the science-based targets (SBTi) - according to the current state of science - which are in line with the Paris Agreement. Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
In accordance with SBTi, BOKU sets the goal of a 90%-reduction and offesets of residual emissions from 2040 (max. 10% from the base year) as a long-term climate neutrality goal. Therewith, the state of net-zero emissions will be achieved.The reduction of 2/3 by 2030 can be seen as a first milestone towards the state of net-zero emissions.
BOKU, as a university and trailblazer wants to achieve the long-term climate neutrality goal by 2040, even though SBTi recommends to achieve it in 2050 the latest. The BOKU goal is in line with the climate goals by the Austrian Government which wants Austria to be climate neutral by 2040.
Centre for Global Change and Sustainability