(Climate) research as well as research funding – especially publically funded research programmes – have the objective to lend support to mastering the thus far unique challenges posed by climate change. Paradoxically, the (climate) research and research funding sectors have developed a carbon-intensive working style, fuelled by rising expectations regarding international cooperation, cheap air travel, and using resource-intensive infrastructure.
However, the success of scientific communication highly depends on credibility which is undermined by activities inconsistent with the message communicated by climate researchers.
Numerous research bodies take concrete steps toward decreasing the carbon footprint of their activities:
- The Climate Change Centre Austria has a climate-friendly business travel policy, and the annual Climate Day is organised as a climate-friendly event.
- The Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria undertakes various sustainability activities such as the “Climate-Friendly Climate Research” project or implementing sustainability strategies throughout all participating universities. Furthermore, a one-week virtual conference on climate-friendly research was held in November 2013.
- JPI CLIMATE has implemented a sustainability principle in the context of which the perpetual improvement of the organisation’s carbon footprint has been made a central strategic priority. Moreover, climate-friendly research criteria for research proposals were integrated in the first joint call for proposals.
- The British Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has declared climate-friendly business travel an integral part of collaboration and held a conference on “Radical Emissions Reductions” in December 2013.
- In 2014, the IASS Potsdam initiated an (intra-)organisational learning process in order to reduce the company’s and its infrastructure’s carbon footprint.
- The Austrian Climate and Energy Fund has integrated climate-friendly research criteria into the annual “Austrian Climate Research Programme”.
In 2013, the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria carried out the “Climate-Friendly Climate Research” project as the Austrian contribution the JPI CLIMATE Fast Track Activities (FTA’s). The objective was to stimulate and promote awareness for and taking steps toward more climate-friendly research and research funding.
The project’s objective is to contribute to a breakthrough in climate(-friendly) research by reducing carbon footprints and thus increase credibility. Therefore, the project did not follow a business-as-usual approach but one of identifying and developing innovative and inspiring solutions which can be applied at and pertain to different levels of research (funding) processes.
The project results comprise three Policy Briefs and detailed recommendations. The project culminated in a one-week virtual conference on climate-friendly research.
Policy Briefs und Recommendations
Climate friendly climate research Konferenz 2013