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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below zero by 2030

The problem

Climate change is causing devastating consequences in Australia and all over the world. The exacerbated impacts of floods, bushfires, storm surges and heatwaves are a reminder that society is not acting with the urgency required to keep temperature rises within globally agreed limits. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in their Sixth Assessment Report, identified the current state of the climate and what is required to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. The science is clear, we need urgent and drastic reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission to zero, as soon as possible.

Our approach

Transformational change is necessary, across all sectors in society. As The Australian National University, we have a responsibility and mission to contribute to global environmental sustainability.

We will meet our targets in the most ethical, sustainable and efficient way by:

  • First and foremost, reducing emissions as rapidly as possible. Our evidence-based approach considers our main sources of emissions and includes, among others: 1) a university-wide travel emissions reduction program which can lead to a 25% reduction in our overall emissions; and 2) transition from natural gas-powered boilers to electric heat pumps and reducing these operational emissions down to zero as fast as possible. For the first time this winter, ANU had multiple buildings heated without using fossil fuels.
  • Secondly, by removing more emissions than we produce. This can be either by offsetting difficult to abate emissions using only high-quality, carbon credits on Australian land or through carbon removal activities connected to ANU land, research, teaching or partnerships (“ANU-connected carbon removal activities”).

Our targets

Greenhouse gases

  • By 2025: Net-zero emissions for direct on-campus activities, including: energy, business travel and waste.
  • By 2030: Below-zero emissions (for the scope outlined above) drawing down emissions on ANU land or using carbon offsets that integrate ANU research and teaching activities.
  • Beyond 2030: Progressively draw down emissions accumulated earlier, starting with those accumulated over the lifetime of the Below Zero Program.

Energy use

  • Reduce the energy consumption of Gross Floor Area by 10% in 2025 compared to 2019.
  • Complete Energy Assessments and implement feasible energy efficiency upgrades and tuning of target buildings within ANU campuses by 5% by 2025.
  • Double to 1MW the onsite renewable energy generation by 2025 compared to 2021.

Our solutions

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