Climate Action Plan for Al-Quds University

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Climate Action Plan for Al-Quds University

Overview

As a leading academic institution, Al-Quds University recognizes its responsibility to the global community and future generations to address climate change. In pursuit of this responsibility, we are embarking on a robust, comprehensive Climate Action Plan with the ultimate goal of making the university climate-neutral and net-zero emissions by 2050. This commitment is aligned with the targets set forth in the Paris Agreement, putting us in step with international efforts to curb global warming and create a more sustainable future.

Background

Al-Quds University’s journey towards sustainability and climate resilience began earnestly in 2016. Since then, our primary strategy has been to mitigate our contribution to climate change through two main areas: operational (scope 1 and 2) and value chain (scope 3) emissions.

Operational emissions are those directly resulting from our activities, such as energy use in our buildings and transportation for our university services. Our aim here is to significantly reduce these emissions by transitioning to renewable energy sources and electrifying our campuses. This involves replacing fossil fuel-dependent systems with more eco-friendly alternatives, such as solar and wind energy, and electric vehicles for campus services.

Value chain emissions are those from our broader network of activities, including those from suppliers and investments. For these, we aim to engage with key suppliers to ensure they uphold sustainable practices and divest from fossil fuel investment holdings, thereby reducing the carbon footprint associated with our procurement and financial activities.

Targets

Our Climate Action Plan sets forth several ambitious, yet achievable targets:

  • 2030: We aim to reduce our emissions by 50%. This reduction not only aligns with but significantly exceeds the Paris Agreement’s emissions reduction target for 2030, thereby contributing to the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • 2035: We aim for a further 50% reduction in emissions from extended impact sources, including commuting, business air travel, food systems, waste and materials, and embodied carbon. This second phase of reductions ensures our continuous alignment with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target.
  • 2040: We intend to achieve an 85% reduction in operational greenhouse gas emissions. By this point, our direct emissions should be minimal, thanks to our transition to renewable energy sources and other emissions-reducing initiatives.
  • 2050: Our ultimate goal is to achieve net-zero emissions. By mid-century, Al-Quds University aims to be completely climate-neutral, contributing no net emissions to the planet’s atmosphere.
YearTargetDescription
203050% reduction in emissionsThis significantly exceeds the Paris Agreement’s emissions reduction target for 2030
2035Additional 50% reduction in emissions from extended impact sourcesThis keeps our reductions in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target
204085% reduction in operational greenhouse gas emissionsBy this point, our direct emissions should be minimal
2050Net-Zero EmissionsAchieving climate neutrality by balancing the amount of emitted greenhouse gases with the equivalent emissions that are either offset or sequestered

Strategies and Actions by Focus Area

  1. Campus Operations: Our commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy for campus operations by 2040 will involve a comprehensive overhaul of our energy systems. This includes the installation of solar panels and wind turbines, the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems, and the retrofitting of campus buildings to enhance energy efficiency.
  2. Commuting: The development of a green transportation plan aims to reduce emissions from commuting by 35% by 2035. This strategy involves promoting carpooling, cycling, walking, and the use of public transport through incentives and the provision of necessary infrastructure.
  3. Food Systems: Sustainable food procurement practices will be established to cut emissions from our food system by 50% by 2030. We aim to promote locally sourced, organic, and plant-based options, reduce food waste, and educate our community about the environmental impact of their food choices.
  4. Waste & Materials: We intend to achieve zero waste status by 2040 through initiatives such as composting 80% of food waste by 2030, eliminating single-use plastics on campus by 2030, and implementing comprehensive recycling and waste management programs.
  5. Engagement & Outreach Programs: Engaging the university community and beyond is essential for the success of our plan. We will conduct awareness campaigns, workshops, seminars, and community events to foster a culture of sustainability.
  6. Business Air Travel: The university aims to reduce air travel by 20% by 2030, promoting the use of virtual meeting platforms, thereby reducing our carbon footprint associated with travel.
  7. Embodied Carbon: We will engage with our suppliers to ensure their practices align with our sustainability goals, with an aim to reduce embodied carbon in procurement by 40% by 2035.

Measuring Progress

To ensure the efficacy of our strategies and to hold ourselves accountable, we will establish a system for regular monitoring and reporting. We will conduct annual reviews, using science-based targets to assess our progress in each focus area. These reviews will guide us in refining our strategies, addressing any shortcomings, and celebrating our achievements.

Progress Statistics per Focus Area (2016-2050)

PeriodCampus OperationsCommutingFood SystemsWaste & MaterialsEngagement & Outreach ProgramsBusiness Air TravelEmbodied Carbon
2016-2020Installed energy-efficient appliances in buildingsImplemented bike sharing program, CarpoolingSwitched 30% of food procurement to local sources, Reduced food waste by 15%Reduced campus waste by 20%, Started composting programConducted 15 awareness campaigns, Reached 2000 students through seminarsReduced air travel by 5%, Encouraged use of teleconferencing toolsEngaged 50% of suppliers for sustainable practices
2021-2025Transitioned to 40% renewable energy, Installed energy-efficient appliances in more buildingsGreen transportation plan fully implemented, Carpooling increased by 20%Switched 50% of food procurement to local sources, Reduced food waste by 30%Reduced campus waste by 40%, Composted 40% of food wasteConducted 30 awareness campaigns, Reached 5000 students through seminarsReduced air travel by 10%, Expanded use of teleconferencing toolsEngaged 75% of suppliers for sustainable practices
2026-2030Transitioned to 60% renewable energy, All buildings installed with energy-efficient appliancesCommuting emissions reduced by 30%, All staff and students aware of green transport optionsSwitched 75% of food procurement to local sources, Reduced food waste by 50%Achieved zero waste status, Composted 60% of food wasteConducted 50 awareness campaigns, Reached entire student body through seminarsReduced air travel by 20%, Teleconferencing becomes norm for meetingsAll suppliers engaged for sustainable practices
2031-2035Transitioned to 80% renewable energy, All buildings retrofitted for energy efficiencyCommuting emissions reduced by 50%, Majority of students and staff using green transport optionsAll food procurement from sustainable sources, Food waste minimizedAll waste is either recycled or composted, Single-use plastics eliminatedOngoing engagement and outreach, Integration of sustainability in all university programsAir travel reduced by 40%, All possible meetings conducted virtuallyReduced embodied carbon in procurement by 40%
2036-2040Transitioned to 100% renewable energy, Zero emissions from campus operationsCommuting emissions reduced by 75%, Electric vehicles make up majority of university fleetFood systems fully sustainable, No food wasteUniversity maintains zero waste status, All waste managed sustainablySustainability becomes integral part of university cultureAir travel reduced by 60%, All non-essential travel eliminatedFull alignment of suppliers with sustainability goals
2041-2050Maintenance of 100% renewable energy usage, Continuous improvements for energy efficiencyMinimal emissions from commuting, Transition to fully electric or non-motorized transportFully circular and sustainable food system, Zero food wasteWaste management systems improved and updated as needed, Continuous efforts for waste reductionContinuous engagement and outreach, Evolution of programs as per latest sustainability scienceNegligible emissions from air travel, Virtual platforms used for all possible communicationContinuous collaboration with suppliers for further reduction of embodied carbon

Climate Action Policy

Our Climate Action Plan forms a key part of Al-Quds University’s wider environmental sustainability policy. This policy is not just an institutional guideline, but a commitment from each student, staff, and faculty member. Everyone in our community has a role to play, whether it’s reducing energy consumption, recycling, or advocating for climate action.

Education and Research

Al-Quds University recognizes that climate change is not just an environmental issue, but also an educational one. We have a critical role in educating the next generation of leaders, policymakers, and citizens who understand the challenges of climate change and are equipped to address them. This commitment extends to our research, where we will promote and support interdisciplinary research on climate change and sustainability, aiming to contribute to the global body of knowledge and solutions.

Final Word

Climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions. At Al-Quds University, we recognize that our efforts alone are not enough. But by doing our part and continually striving for greater sustainability, we contribute to a worldwide momentum for change. We commit to continuously reviewing and enhancing our actions on climate change, consistently with the evolving climate science and our pledge to future generations.

As we embark on this ambitious journey, we’re not just crafting a Climate Action Plan; we’re shaping our legacy for future generations. Our hope is that our commitment to combating climate change inspires other institutions to do the same, creating a global network of climate leaders and innovators.

 

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