University of Tokyo: GAUC Campus Decarbonization Workshop held

The Campus Decarbonization Workshop, co-organized by the University of Tokyo and Tsinghua University, marked the start of the activity of the Campus Action Working Group of the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC).

Speakers from eight GAUC member institutions gave presentations on the current situation and focus of reducing carbon emission from their respective campuses, touching upon a variety of topics including measuring the carbon footprint, setting reduction targets, specific measures to reduce direct and indirect emissions, generating and purchasing renewable energy, carbon offsetting, integrating sustainability efforts into research and education, student engagement and working with society. The eight universities were: Australian National University; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Indian Institute of Science; London School of Economics and Political Science; Tsinghua University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Cambridge and the University of Tokyo, of which many are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by the middle of this century, while some have the more ambitious target of achieving it earlier.

A total of 15 discussants joined the discussion and Q&A session that followed the presentations. A wide variety of issues were discussed, including enhancement of research and education related to sustainability, engagement with the local community, landscape of the renewable energy market in each country, water usage for energy saving, decarbonizing methods of heating systems, efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions and assessment of campus decarbonization. The discussion highlighted similarities and differences among each GAUC member institution in terms of social, cultural, geographical and environmental context, and the experiences in regard to campus decarbonization. It also highlighted that this diversity of GAUC member institutions can provide great opportunities for each institution to advance their own decarbonization strategies by learning from each other’s experiences and generate new knowledge and activities that can impact society.

The Campus Action Working Group is committed to creating a forum for knowledge exchange to assist GAUC member institutions to develop decarbonization processes suited to their unique circumstances. Workshops will be held regularly on an annual basis and the next workshop is planned to be hosted by the Australian National University in 2022.