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Low carbon research and teaching in geography: pathways and perspectives

Williams, Joe ORCID: and Love, Whitney 2022. Low carbon research and teaching in geography: pathways and perspectives. Professional Geographer 74 (1) , pp. 41-51. 10.1080/00330124.2021.1977156

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Universities and research centers are major producers of greenhouse gas emissions. There are growing calls from within the university sector for more proactive approaches to reducing the emissions associated with research and teaching and to contribute more to climate change mitigation. These debates have considered both the campus-based emissions of universities with large estates and the travel-related emissions associated with international staff and student communities. There is therefore an increasingly acute tension between universities’ imperative to foster international networks and expand research and teaching on the one hand and their moral obligations to decarbonize on the other hand. In this article, we consider how academic departments can navigate this challenging paradox. Our study is based on an analysis of the Department of Geography at Durham University in the United Kingdom. We examine the major sources of emissions associated with this department and find that by far the largest contribution comes from air travel for staff research and student field trips. We then explore student perspectives and consider potential pathways toward a low-carbon model of research and teaching. Overall, we find a high level of support for decarbonization in the academy and potential for significant emissions reductions with minimal impact on quality of research and teaching.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Association of American Geographers (AAG)
ISSN: 0033-0124
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 21 July 2021
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 23:52

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