University of Edinburgh Pledges to Go Zero by 2040

23 November 2016

The University of Edinburgh has committed to become zero carbon by 2040. The University's Climate Strategy 2016 lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to achieve its ambitious targets.

The United Kingdom, along with more than 170 other countries, officially signed the Paris Agreement in 2016. The agreement sets out a global target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a decisive call to action to mitigate dangerous climate change caused by human activity.

To meet this challenge, and to support Scotland's and the world's transition to a low carbon economy, the University of Edinburgh will reduce its carbon emissions per £ million turnover by 50% from a 2007/08 baseline, and will become a net zero carbon university by 2040.

To meet these new obligations the University will take action on research, learning and teaching, operations, responsible investment, and will investigate renewables opportunities.

It will use the University’s five campuses as living laboratories for learning and to test innovative ideas that can be replicated elsewhere.

Professor Charlie Jeffery CBE, Senior Vice-Principal
Alec Edgecliffe-Johnson, Edinburgh University Students’ Association President

The time for debate on the science has long since passed, as has the time for arguments on whether to act. In this Strategy, we commit to long-term goals to ensure we are leading the way on tackling climate change, across all of our activities and recognising the core strength of the University as a globally connected, socially committed research and learning organisation.

The Climate Strategy 2016-2026 presents a whole institution approach, encompassing University research, learning, teaching, operations and investments, and presents our bold vision to be carbon neutral by 2040, including ambitious targets and concrete goals.

To support this vision, teh University is also launching a £2.75 million initiative to help deliver staff and students’ sustainable projects; expanding the fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles; establishing an expert group to review what further investments in renewable technologies, such as solar and wind, could be made; and will also implement a range of other policy and operational changes over the next few years.

To help understand how this strategy will affect staff and students, there are a number of meetings in early December, which are open to all.

Climate Strategy Launch Open Meetings

To attend one of these events, or if you would like to read more about the strategy, please visit

5/6/7th December at various sites across the campus.

The University will publish a new climate strategy in autumn 2016 to replace the current Climate Action Plan 2010-20. The briefings gives staff and students an opportunity to learn more about the strategy and how they can get involved.