by Kennedy Graham
Congratulations to the University of Canterbury.
It is the first university outside the UK to be certified under the CEMARS scheme by carbNZero Holdings Limited.
The scheme assists organisations and businesses to accurately measure their carbon footprint. It provides mechanisms for managing and reducing their footprint, though not a marker of carbon neutrality, which we would welcome the University aspiring to, it is a step towards. It acknowledges their efforts through certification – of a kind that is balanced by independent accreditation.
So what is so big about that? It is that robust certification of the CEMARS kind is, critically, an integral part of such standards.
Without identifiable and reputable certification, emission reductions are too often seen as ‘hot air’ and clever marketing.
I therefore commend the University in committing to certification. This commitment reflects real work at reducing emissions, rather than mere talk of doing so.
One minor caveat – to save the planet. I understand the alignment of a target for an institution’s emissions reduction with the current national reduction target of 10-20% by 2020 (on 1990 levels). That is the ‘national standard’, so to speak.
But I would be more delighted to see our universities pooling their academic resources to establish what an ideal emissions reduction target would be if we begin at the global level in a rational world, rather than at the level of protecting the ‘competitive’ national interest in a chaotic world.
What too often gets swept under the carpet is that the real national interest is inextricably intertwined with the fate of the global climate – more than with the immediate and short-term exports. Avoiding this fact is just procrastination as we approach the global deadline.
I invite the University of Canterbury, and others, to look ahead and consider what they could achieve along these lines.
Meanwhile, congratulations again on their achievement with the CEMARS certification.