University of Melbourne commits to climate positive status by 2030

The Old Quad Building at the University of Melbourne with the South Lawn in the foreground.
University of Melbourne cements renewed aspirations in combating climate change.

The University of Melbourne has set new commitments on climate change targets, including achieving carbon neutral certification by 2025 and climate positive status by 2030.

‘Climate positive’ is a step further than ‘carbon neutral’ as it removes more greenhouse gas emissions than generated.

Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the impending Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP 26) provides an opportunity to cement the University’s renewed aspirations in combating climate change.

“The time for action is now,” Professor Maskell said.

“Climate change is a key strategic priority in the University’s Advancing Melbourne 2030 strategy. Earlier this year, we launched Melbourne Climate Futures (MCF) to address this global challenge. However, we must also ‘walk the talk’ on decarbonisation when it comes to our own operations and activities.”

The University’s Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 outlines key carbon targets. The University has already achieved targets to offset staff air travel emissions and vehicle fleet emissions. It is also on track to achieve net zero emissions from electricity by the end of 2021 and carbon neutrality before 2030.

The University is fast-tracking its existing climate change targets to Establish the University of Melbourne as a global climate change leader in the higher education sector.

To achieve this new goal the University Council has endorsed two new targets for the next Sustainability Plan. These are to:

  • Achieve carbon neutral by 2025 (as certified under the Federal Government’s Climate Active standard)
  • Achieve climate positive status by 2030

“The pursuit and achievement of these targets will position the University of Melbourne as a leader in moving to a low carbon world,” Professor Maskell said.

Director of Melbourne Climate Futures, Professor Jacqueline Peel, welcomes the new commitment and said it puts the University of Melbourne at the forefront of climate action in the higher education sector.

“Everyone needs to step up – there has never been a more important time to act on climate. Melbourne Climate Futures was set up to take forward this mission. With these new targets, the University of Melbourne is part of finding a positive solution,” Professor Peel said.

“Universities are critical, not only in our research response to a climate-changed future, but in empowering and inspiring the next generation of researchers and students to strive for more.”

Additional information will be available when the University’s updated Sustainability Plan is published next year. For more on what the University is doing to combat climate change, please visit the Melbourne Climate Futures website.