Net Zero Carbon Bristol

In 2015, during Bristol’s tenure as the European Green Capital, the University of Bristol committed itself to becoming net zero carbon by 2030 in our estate.

We had already committed ourselves, in 2010, to reducing our emissions by 38% from a 2005/6 baseline by 2020 as part of a sector-wide initiative to reduce emissions in Universities. However, as climate science developed, we realised that we needed to cut further. Many of the leading academics in the University have been working on the adaptation, mitigation and implications of Global Heating, and we know first-hand what the consequences of failing to act are now and could be in the future.

In 2019 we declared a Climate Emergency. We wanted to show how urgent we feel the situation is, and we wanted to show leadership and offer encouragement to our peers and stakeholders.

Read more: What is a Climate Emergency Declaration? (PDF, 1,118kB)

The climate emergency declaration is an opportunity for the University to reaffirm its commitment to become a carbon neutral campus by 2030 and to explore how action towards this target can be accelerated and/or broadened in scope.

We are currently developing an action plan in direct response to the declaration, building on our existing carbon reduction strategy, which will seek to engage all academic faculties and professional services divisions in a University-wide approach.

Read more: Our 8 Point Plan (PDF, 1,452kB)

This work includes the ongoing development of a business travel plan with a particular focus on air travel, which we know to be responsible for a growing share of the University’s overall carbon footprint, but which lies outside the scope of the current carbon neutral target.

In discussing carbon neutrality, we currently use the ISO 14064 standard, which we have held now for several years this uses 2007-8 as a baseline, as it has been possible to calculate 07-08 to a greater degree of accuracy than 2005-6.

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