Measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of our research
A key part of research in our Department is understanding the causes and consequences of long-term climate change. In line with the Summary for Policymakers in the AR5 report of the IPCC we are clear that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that human influence on the climate system is clear. It is vital that we play our role in taking meaningful actions towards achieving the UK net zero target of 2050 in line with recommendations from the UK Committee on Climate Change.
Beginning in 2006, the Department has been interested in measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of our work through an initiative called Dr Carbon which provided an initial report and set of recommendations for carbon reduction in 2007. Following a hiatus, this initiative was relaunched in October 2019. On these pages, you will find information about our current estimates of our carbon budget and a series of actions we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint.
Monitoring and communication
- Hold termly Dr Carbon meetings which report to our termly all staff meeting.
- Annual carbon budget estimate and update.
- Refining methodologies to estimate carbon footprint of staff and student commuting, cloud storage and computing and supercomputing use.
- Communicating our progress through the Dr Carbon website
- Asking our funders to consider subsidising low-carbon travel and considering funds for offsetting.
- Asking international science organisations to report on and reduce the carbon footprint of scientific meetings and workshops.
- Asking the University to appoint a travel supplier with expertise in low-carbon travel.
- Asking the University and funders to consider the impact of wording about international travel on promotion criteria and advice to grant reviewers.
- A policy for additional time-off for staff who choose low-carbon travel to compensate for additional travel time.
- Tools for staff to plan low-carbon travel and to consider if travel is necessary on the Dr Carbon website.
- Communicate the carbon footprint of travel to staff at booking stage.
- Trial and run online seminars.
For members of the department, there is an internal page which tracks progress against our actions and holds the minutes of Dr Carbon meetings. Please click below to find out more:
Since we have identified academic travel as being the most significant part of our carbon footprint, there is also a page which gives examples of low carbon travel that members of the Department have undertaken in the past few years. The aim of this page is to help others to use low-carbon travel options.
Dr Carbon is an open initiative across the School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences, with a committee that meets once per term to discuss issues of sustainability, to monitor the actions we have taken and to suggest new actions. Currently, committee members are drawn from all areas of the department including academic staff, support staff, researchers and students. We welcome new members to the committee, please contact Andrew Charlton-Perez or Kathryn Boyd. The pages above report estimates and actions for the Department of Meteorology, but we are working hard to produce similar estimates and actions for the other departments in our School.