The urgency of the climate crisis is made abundantly clear by the Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The academic system is making an important positive impact by (i) research into the climate crisis and its impact; (ii) research into mitigation and adaptation strategies and technologies; (iii) education of the general public as well as students; (iv) science-based policy advice. In the present report, we focus on the academic system’s negative impact on the climate through its own operations.
As with essentially every sector of society, a thorough transformation is necessary to achieve climate sustainability. In the case of the academic system, this need is accentuated by the following fact: academic institutions provide knowledge on the climate crisis and potential solutions and mitigation strategies, and therefore should also act on that knowledge. In this way they can also play a leading role in showing how a sector can successfully transition to climate sustainability. Data on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions indicates that significant changes are necessary for the academic system to reach climate sustainability.