Call on Universities and Professional Associations to Greatly Reduce Flying

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Flying contributes significantly to global climate change. Climate science posits a need to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 90 percent (in relation to 1990 levels) by 2050 in order to limit temperature change to 2°C. Emissions are cumulative, so reductions cannot be delayed. Universities and academic professional associations should be leaders on this issue. University communities typically embrace sustainable practices in other areas of daily life. It would be inconsistent to ignore sustainability in the case of flying.

  1. We petition universities and institutions of higher education: (a) to include all university-related flying (whether directly paid by the university or by others) in their environmental impact measurement and goal-setting; (b) to support and work to realize marked reductions in flying by faculty, staff, and students commensurate with the cuts suggested by climate science; (c) to establish and publish short- and medium-term benchmarks for reductions; and (d) to use their influence with professional associations to reduce reliance on flying for academic and research conferencing.
  2. We petition academic professional associations: (a) to measure and report the environmental impact of their conferences; (b) to radically reduce the amount of flying needed for conferencing; (c) to establish and publish short- and medium-term benchmarks for reductions; and (d) to work with university-based members to meet key professional objectives in ways that do not require flying and that are sustainable.

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