AUS Plan to align with UAE pledge to reach Net Zero by 2050

March 01, 2022 / 2:21 PM
Sharjah24: American University of Sharjah (AUS) is currently developing its first comprehensive Climate Action Plan with the goal to reduce the university’s carbon emissions. The plan further aligns the university’s sustainability efforts with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative announced in October 2021. As part of the process, AUS will hold a Climate Action Exhibition on campus from February 28 to March 12. The exhibition will act as a forum to seek feedback on faculty and student research, classroom engagement on climate action, and community campaigns to educate AUS’ stakeholders on the climate action.
The UAE’s strategic initiative is a national drive to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, making the UAE the first country in MENA to do so. The strategy aligns with the Paris Agreement and the UAE’s roadmap for the next 50 years for accelerating national economic development. AUS has been one of the pioneering higher education institutions in the UAE and regionally to focus its academics and operations on sustainability. 

“We are committed at AUS to reducing our carbon emissions. To honor and join in this bold UAE initiative, AUS is developing a Climate Action Plan that will serve as our roadmap to reducing emissions. AUS and all higher education institutions play an important role in leading change, educating future generations, serving as a living laboratory for innovation, and modeling the adaptations and behavioral changes needed for the UAE to meet these targets on climate change,” said Dr. Susan Mumm, Chancellor of AUS.

The comprehensive Climate Action Plan is expected to be completed by June 2022, with progress measured and assessed annually. The plan will offer a roadmap for reducing the university’s carbon emissions, focusing on the technical and operational changes required, as well as an engagement plan to involve the AUS community. As part of this, the upcoming Climate Action Exhibition will focus on the milestones the university has already reached in energy usage, transportation and supply chain operations that reduce emissions, as well as communicate future plans and initiatives.

“The exhibition will show the impact we can have on the environment. Operations, including the facilities department, play a key role in reducing the university’s carbon emissions through the reduction of energy consumption, material usage and wastage, and contributing to sustainable construction and renovation of buildings. Becoming more sustainable is a shared responsibility between all members of the university community, who should also be actively participating in making energy and material reduction a reality,” said Prasanna Salgado, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Services Manager at AUS.  

Instrumental to the university’s sustainability efforts are its EcoReps, students who have a desire to promote sustainable change on campus and to educate their student peers on issues related to waste reduction, energy conservation, diversity and other sustainability-related issues. 

“As a student, it makes me proud of AUS to see that the university is taking clear steps to reduce our carbon emissions. It is also exciting to be given the opportunity to have input in the development of the engagement plan and to know that the data and lessons learned will be use in my classes. Access to case studies like this will better prepare me for my future career,” said Gulzar Basheer, a current EcoRep.

AUS is widely recognised for its sustainability initiatives and has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AUS is the GCC region’s best performing university in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), having been awarded a Silver rating. In 2020, AUS became the Gulf region’s first university to begin to ban single-use plastics across its campus. Additionally, the university’s new Engineering and Sciences Building received a highly sought-after 2 Pearl rating by Estidama, a sustainable development initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. AUS was also the recipient of the Green Audit Award as part of the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency’s Sustainable Campus Initiative for university students.
March 01, 2022 / 2:21 PM

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