Do colleges and universities have a responsibility to Go Green at a faster rate than the rest of society? At least one funding body in the United Kingdom thinks so:

Launching a new consultation on how the higher education sector can reduce its carbon footprint, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) said universities should aspire to cutting emissions 50% by 2020 against 1990 levels, and 100% by 2050. The 2020 aspiration is much tougher than the government’s legally-binding target of reducing national emissions by 34% in the same time frame. The consultation also reiterates the government’s previous proposal to link universities’ funding to their greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 2011.

Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, which also worked on the proposals, said: “We support this goal. Universities, as educators, have been playing a vital role in moving the sustainability development agenda forward, and seeking a reduction in carbon emissions is key to this.”

While the study and story in question involves the UK, which has a different but hardly alien academic (and political) culture, surely the question pertains to academia generally and to Williams in the particular.

[note: comments 1, 2, 5, 6, and 12 below moved over from separate emissions discussion on Speak Up! – Ronit]

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