Sheffield university pledges to be carbon neutral by 2038 after joining United Nations climate campaign

A Sheffield university has joined the United Nations zero carbon emissions campaign and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2038.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 10:24 am

The University of Sheffield has signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Race to Zero campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but has set its own target of 2038.

Race to Zero is a global campaign, backed by the UK Government, to mobilise resources for net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Professor Sue Hartley, Vice-President for Research, signed the Global Climate Letter for Universities and Colleges associated with the campaign, on behalf of the university.

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The University of Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield said they have ‘long sought to drive down its carbon emissions’ and in the 2019-20 academic year the education facility achieved a 47 per cent reduction in gross carbon emissions since 2005-6 – exceeding their target to cut carbon emissions by 43 percent over the same period.

A number of factors such as efforts to improve energy efficiency on campus, the decarbonisation of the UK electricity grid and scaling back campus activities due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has contributed to the reduction.

The new pledge will influence the university’s decision making on sustainability and includes the headline promise that the institution will become carbon neutral on campus by 2030 and across all its activities by 2038.

Professor Sue Hartley said: “The Race to Zero is an opportunity for the University to publicly commit to climate action.

"We are guided by climate science which tells us that we must act swiftly to become carbon neutral.

"The entire University community is working together to drive down our emissions as quickly as possible.”

In its strategy, the university has also committed to embed Education for Sustainable Development into all taught courses and vows to use its research to tackle modern sustainability challenges and confront high carbon university travel.

University of Sheffield Students’ Union Development Officer Jordan Weir added: “Our students demand radical action in the face of the climate emergency.

"Joining the Race to Zero is another victory for students.

“We look forward to working closely with the University to achieve our goals and make Sheffield one of the most sustainable research-intensive universities in the country.”

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