An open letter to Danish universities: Let us show the way towards a more ambitious climate agenda

November 19, 2018 - 16:23

The letter is signed by more than 650 academics from a number of research fields in Denmark. They are calling for universities to lead by example, and implement climate friendly policies in the workplace in the hope of inspiring change in other sectors.

If we do not start a global transition to a greener society immediately the consequences will be catastrophic. (Photo: Shutterstock)

On October 8, 2018 the UN’s panel on climate change, IPCC, published its latest report

It should be unnecessary at this time to emphasise the scope and gravity of the threat posed by human-caused climate change. But the report made it even clearer that it is vital to limit the increase in the global mean temperature to 1.5 degrees, and that achieving this goal will require radical political and social change on a global scale. If we do not start a global transition to a greener society immediately the consequences will be catastrophic.

Though many researchers at Danish universities are highly active in the debate on climate change, there is at present no ambitious climate agenda across these establishments. With this letter, we strongly encourage the university management to immediately develop and implement a series of far-reaching policies to drastically reduce the universities’ carbon emissions.

The universities have a particularly heavy responsibility with regard to the implementation of an ambitious climate agenda, for three main reasons.

Firstly, researchers contribute to a particularly high degree of carbon emissions, especially by using air transport to travel to conferences. High emissions offer an equally large potential for reducing the researchers’ climate footprint.

Secondly, scientific authority is a key topic in the fight against climate skepticism. Researchers cannot expect to be taken seriously in the debate on climate change if they do not themselves implement the measures they propose. We have to put our own house in order first if we want others to listen.

Thirdly, the universities are ideally suited to lead the fight against climate change by developing and testing innovative, interdisciplinary and evidence-based measures for reducing carbon emissions. If new solutions are not developed at the universities, where else should they come from?

Facts

The letter is signed by researchers both inside and outside of climate research and has been sent to all management and boards of universities in Denmark. Their message is clear and concise: Universities can pave the way for an ambitious climate policy at the workplace. And hopefully inspire other sectors.

Like any other large company, the universities have an obligation to assume their share of social responsibility towards their employees and the environment. Furthermore, as a place of learning, the universities have enormous potential for bringing about positive social change in the fight against climate change: through their contact with thousands of young students; teachers can cause a ripple effect throughout society. It is time for the universities to take this responsibility seriously.

We therefore demand that the management account for how it much it plans to reduce the universities’ emissions, as well as the specific policies that are to be implemented to reach this goal, including technical, administrative, behavioral and pedagogical initiatives.

An ambitious and longsighted climate agenda, founded on clear, evidence-based goals for reducing carbon emissions, will necessarily comprise a broad spectrum of far-reaching initiatives, including:

  1. drastically reducing flights and supporting climate-friendly alternatives
  2. reducing energy consumption and investing in sustainable energy
  3. investing in technologies that enable remote participation at international conferences
  4. supporting environmental-friendly solutions at the universities’ canteens and conference dinners
  5. increasing waste sorting

With eager expectation, we await the university management’s response to these global challenges.

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Signatories to the open letter, addressed to university management

More than 600 academics (656 at the time of publication) from universities across Denmark have signed the open letter, which has been sent to management and boards of universities throughout the country.

The list of signatories below, includes professors, lecturers, senior scientists, associate professors, postdocs, PhD students, and scientific assistants, from a range of academic fields.   

  • Marc Malmdorf Andersen
  • Jens Friis Lund
  • Sophus Helle
  • Felix Riede
  • Anton Stahl Olafsson
  • Massimo Pizzol
  • Christian Fertner
  • Thomas Meinert Larsen
  • Mette Bendixen
  • Gregers Andersen
  • Nanna B. Hartmann
  • Jeppe Læssøe
  • Lauge Clausen
  • Michael Bom Frøst
  • Anne Leonora Blaakilde
  • Susanne Pedersen
  • Natalie Marie Gulsrud
  • Inge Røpke
  • Annette Bilfeldt
  • Lisbet Christoffersen
  • Sinja Rist
  • Mogens Rüdiger
  • Ida Theilade
  • Andreas Birkbak
  • Michael Søgaard  Jørgensen
  • Lea Schick
  • Christian Kjær Jensen
  • Ida Mangor
  • Esben Bjerggaard Nielsen
  • Martin R. Nielsen
  • Charlotte Louise Jensen
  • Inge-Merete Hougaard
  • Katrine Vestergaard Petersen
  • Toke Haunstrup Christensen
  • Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard
  • Raune Frankjær
  • Rasmus Tyge Haarløv
  • Erik Mygind
  • Andrés Felipe Valderrama Pineda
  • Anders Winther Mortensen
  • Kasper Dalgas Rasmussen
  • Torsten Bøgh Thomsen
  • Simon Svane
  • Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen
  • Aske Skovmand Bosselmann
  • John Holten-Andersen
  • Jon Dag Rasmussen
  • Martin Høybye
  • Joeb Høfdinghoff Grønborg
  • Christian Remy
  • Mads Andersen
  • Ngoc Lam Trac
  • Birgitte Hoffmann
  • Adriënne Heijnen
  • Sigrid Nielsen Saabye
  • Peter Scholl
  • Kasper Ostrowski
  • Christian Clausen
  • Byurakn Ishkhanyan
  • Helene Nymann
  • Andreas Højlund
  • Dan Mønster
  • Jakob Steensig
  • Jens Christian Hillerup
  • Ethan Weed
  • Emma Louth
  • Katrin Heimann
  • Ida Selbing
  • Claus Bossen
  • Theresa Ammann
  • Andreas Lieberoth
  • Gordon Osterman
  • Valentina Matta
  • Peter Danholt
  • Lars Yde
  • Kevin Michael Smith
  • Prastudy Fauzi
  • Andreas de Neergaard
  • Karsten Olsen
  • Christian Steven Hoggard
  • Mette Løvschal
  • Malthe Stavning Erslev
  • Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen
  • Anette Høite Hansen
  • Søren Rasmussen
  • Kristian Kongshøj
  • Hjalte Jomo Danielsen Sørup
  • Cordula Vesper
  • Bjarke Vognstrup Fog
  • Mette Terp Høybye
  • Joachim Lund
  • Martin Rygaard
  • Rie Bloch
  • Nick Shepherd
  • Laura McAtackney
  • Hanna Dahlström
  • Julie Skrydstrup
  • Uffe Krogh
  • Henrik Grüttner
  • Ella Paldam
  • David Harvey
  • Søren Pold
  • Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard
  • Kristoffer Albris
  • Annika Pohl Harrisson
  • Jesper Borre Pedersen
  • Katrine Duus Terkelsen
  • Nina Holm Vohnsen
  • Kasper Tang Vangkilde
  • Cecilie Baann
  • Malthe Barnkob Lehrmann
  • Thomas Birch
  • Bodil Selmer
  • Fie Lund
  • Aron Daniel Fischel
  • Anders Sybrandt Hansen
  • Morten Birkved
  • Kristian Tylén
  • Line Marie Thorsen
  • Andreas Wieland
  • Richard Dewhurst
  • Alessio Boldrin
  • Cecilie Bay-Richter
  • Marie Kampmann Eriksen
  • Anders Damgaard
  • Andres Dobat
  • Baptiste Vandecrux
  • Joshua Cohen
  • Astrid Kieffer-Døssing
  • Michael Eilenberg
  • Christian Suhr
  • Jes Vollertsen
  • Cæcilie Kramer Kildahl Sørensen
  • Torben Larsen
  • Kathrine Liedtke Thorndahl
  • Cameron David Warner
  • Ivana Konvalinka
  • Søren Thorndahl
  • Vincent Maklawe Edjabou
  • Karin Buhmann
  • Ruth Pinto
  • Marlene Mark Jensen
  • Ditte Marie Reinholdt Jensen
  • Nynne Nørup
  • Nökkvi Sigurdarson
  • Carlos A. Segovia
  • Mads Kristian Reinholdt Jensen
  • Johan Sandvang Larsen
  • Raphaël Payet-Burin
  • Giorgia Faraca
  • Lotte Fjelsted
  • Sune Agersnap
  • Brandi S. Morris
  • Mette Bjerregaard
  • Maria Toft Möller-Christensen
  • Mahir Hrnjic
  • Laura Feldt
  • Martin Lehmann
  • Martin Rohr Gregersen
  • Christian Høgel
  • Niels Reeh
  • Martin Ledstrup
  • Line Mex-Jørgensen
  • Dietrich Jung
  • Thijs J. Maarleveld
  • Olav Hammer
  • Katrine F. Baunvig
  • Christian Førgaard Nielsen
  • Thorkild Nielsen
  • Cecile Kittel
  • Sally Anderson
  • Nadia Lund
  • Cecilie Bjerre
  • Helene Dyrhauge
  • Karl Haxthausen
  • Jakob Egholm Feldt
  • Rikke Høst Hammershøj
  • Thomas Budde Christensen
  • Reka Forrai
  • Sara Lerer
  • Casper Sylvest
  • Anette Warring
  • Mikael Rothstein
  • Line Mathiesen
  • Aske Hennelund Nielsen
  • Jesper Sørensen
  • Gregory Lemaire
  • Louise Thomsen
  • Stine Krøijer
  • Rebecca Rutt
  • Bo Fritzbøger
  • Kirstine Sinclair
  • Mikael Aktor
  • Anders Klostergaard Petersen
  • Heidi Birch
  • Hans Ulrik Rosengaard
  • Inge Stupak
  • Christian Pilegaard Hansen
  • Raffaele Rodogno
  • Roland Löwe
  • Peder Bacher
  • Vilhjálmur Nielsen
  • Dario Pozzoli
  • Antonia Erz
  • Ursula Plesner
  • Maribel Blasco
  • Raghava Rao Mukkamala
  • Attila Marton
  • Hubert Buch-Hansen
  • Irina Papazu
  • Jonas Hedman
  • Lars Thøger Christensen
  • Charlotte Brendstrup Simonsen
  • Trine Pallesen
  • Pernille Nielsen
  • Piret Liv Stern Dahl
  • Kristian Steensen Nielsen
  • Tor Hernes
  • Maria Paola Calsso
  • Cornelius Hedegaard
  • Niels Buus Lassen
  • Sönnich Dahl Sönnichsen
  • Sine Nørholm Just
  • Jonathan Schmidt
  • Pernille Martiny Modvig
  • Sofie Skovbo Gottlieb
  • Sophie Marie Cappelen
  • Susanne Boch Waldorff
  • Cristiana Parisi
  • Thomas Burø
  • Myriam Marending
  • Viktor Smith
  • Sverre Raffnsøe
  • Johanne Madsen
  • Mette Mogensen
  • Lucia Reisch
  • René Taudal Poulsen
  • Hans Krause Hansen
  • Maria Østerby Elleby
  • Kirstine Zinck Pedersen
  • Juan Ocampo
  • Lasse Folke Henriksen
  • Amelie Rosina Többen
  • Troels Michael Lilja
  • Cathrine Bjørnholt Michaelsen
  • Oliver Stefan Laier
  • Christian Hendriksen
  • Tina Müller
  • Joana Geraldi
  • Karl-Heinz Pogner
  • Laura Høvsgaard Maguire
  • Peer Hull Kristensen
  • Kirsten Stadil Bose
  • Bent Meier Sørensen
  • Trine Agervig Carstensen
  • Jesse C. Jones
  • Mark Lorenzen
  • Jakob Rømer Barfod
  • Lena Olaison
  • Martiina M. Srkoc
  • Stefano Ponte
  • Rasmus Kamstrup Bogetoft
  • Tali Padan
  • Kaitlin Busse
  • Leon Lerborg
  • Tara Qian Sun
  • Lisa Ann Richey
  • Liv Egholm
  • Sofie Østergaard Jensen
  • Anders Blok
  • Philipp Hukal
  • Elisabeth Naima Mikkelsen
  • Poul Poder
  • Alfred Reckendrees
  • Jan Kautz
  • Solveig Zophoniasdottir
  • Charlotte Flach
  • Alivelu Mukkamala
  • Nicholas Haagensen
  • Thorbjørn Fejerskov
  • Hannah Elliott
  • Ivan D’Annibale
  • Morten S. Thaning
  • Felix Wittke
  • Peter Koerver Schmidt
  • Marie Leth Meilvang
  • Dennis Schoeneborn
  • Mikkel Flyverbom
  • Christian Hviid
  • Sara Louise Muhr
  • Andreas Dimmelmeier
  • Majken Schultz
  • Maria Figueroa
  • Sof Thrane
  • Søren Brier
  • Thorben Peter Simonsen
  • Peter Holm Jacobsen
  • Arne Remmen
  • Robin Karsgaard
  • Stefan Sommer
  • Kai Basner
  • Christoffer Voigt
  • Morten Thanning Vendelø
  • Kristjan Jespersen
  • Carsten Humlebæk
  • Morten Borup
  • Jan Bauer
  • Adriana Budeanu
  • Raghavendra Selvan
  • Ole Nørgaard Helmersen
  • Seyed Ali Ghodrat
  • Mads Thybo Kastberg
  • Eva Bendix Petersen
  • Ann Bøttern Jensen
  • Tobias Hallundbæk Petersen
  • Nicola Ens
  • Erin Leitheiser
  • Julie Buhl-Wiggers
  • Ida Marie Malmkjær
  • Christa Breum Amhøj
  • Christina Berg Johansen
  • Marco Carreira silva
  • Tine Kondrup
  • Line Kühnel
  • Emil Husted
  • Rasmus Johnsen
  • Sune Darkner
  • Zartashia Ahmed
  • Florence Villesèche
  • Erik Dam
  • Charlotte Cator
  • Anne Agerbak Bilde
  • Ivan Olav Vulchanov
  • Mette Ellekrog
  • Tine Silfvander
  • Kaare Græsbøll
  • Mikkel Abrahamsen
  • Christina D. Tvarnø
  • Carolyn Rutherford
  • Daniel Ashbrook
  • Christoffer Rasmussen
  • Martin Rudbeck Jepsen
  • Katja Isa Sørensen
  • Emilie Da Silva
  • Jannick Friis Christensen
  • Morten Knudsen
  • Thomas Frick
  • Poul G. Hjorth
  • Lasse Blond
  • Kenneth Brinch Jensen
  • Camilla Mie Nilsson
  • Catarina Pessanha gomes
  • Anna Scedrova
  • Jacob Daniel Kirstejn Hansen
  • Irene Rosberg
  • Davide Giacalone
  • Aske Mottelson
  • Maria Barrett
  • Lara Monticelli
  • Louise Bruun Christensen
  • Cecilie Thrysøe
  • Joachim Delventhal
  • Eleni Tsingou
  • Søren Jeppesen
  • Stina Teilmann-Lock
  • Morten Ougaard
  • Anna Borges
  • Andreas Kamstrup
  • Oliver-Alexander Press
  • Daniel Hjorth
  • Christian Erik Kampmann
  • Dimitra Makri Andersen
  • Mathias Hein Jessen
  • Lavinia-Cristina Iosif-Lazar
  • Annette Risberg
  • Henriette Schleimann
  • Annaig Morin
  • Signe Bruskin
  • Christel Sølvsten
  • Antje Vetterlein
  • Tore Kristensen
  • Jakob Ravn
  • Saila Stausholm
  • Mads Bødker
  • Roddy Walker
  • Emilie Jallov-Haag
  • Isabel Kannegiesser
  • Leif Bloch Rasmussen
  • Christoph Ellersgaard
  • Vibeke Kristine Scheller
  • Anton Grau Larsen
  • Arisa Shollo
  • Susanne Beck
  • Ana María Munar
  • Helle Zinner Henriksen
  • Somdeep Sen
  • Kirsti Reitan Andersen
  • Louise Harder Fischer
  • Queralt Prat-i-Pubill
  • Daniel Borowczyk-Martins
  • Charles T. Tackney
  • Leonard Seabrooke
  • Stig Irving Olsen
  • Henrik Secher Marcussen
  • Leslie Christensen
  • Lori DiVito
  • Thea Sejr Hansen
  • Julie Uldam
  • Charlotte Hansen
  • Laura Horn
  • Mads Kogut
  • Dan Kärreman
  • Thomas Frandsen
  • Hanne Marlene Dahl
  • Sevasti Chatzopoulou
  • Holly McLaughlin
  • Peter Aagaard
  • Oda Hustad
  • Pedro Parraguez
  • Kristoffer Kropp
  • Peter Nielsen
  • Mette Johansen
  • Troels Schultz Larsen
  • Rasmus Willig
  • Kathrine Solgaard Sørensen
  • Molly Anne Occhino
  • Lindsay Whitfield
  • John K. Christiansen
  • Mogens Buch-Hansen
  • Anders Petersen
  • Indra Römgens
  • Jakob Vestergaard
  • Ea Høg Utoft
  • Lucie Alexanian
  • Erik Andreas Martens
  • Jesper Michael Møller
  • Karsten Bruun Hansen
  • Emil Eiby Seidenfaden
  • Niels Kornum
  • Torkil Clemmensen
  • Mads Ejsing
  • Katrine Maria Lumbye
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  • Lea Acre Foverskov
  • Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær
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  • Liping Jiang
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  • Laura Elisabeth Svop Ahlqvist
  • Nina Elisabeth Torm
  • David Howoldt
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  • Britta Gammelgaard
  • Oswin Krause
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  • Henrik Madsen
  • Quentin Gausset
  • Adam Paulsen
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  • Karsten Bobek
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  • Lars Ove Dragsted
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  • Nikolaus Sonnenschein
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  • Maëlle Caussarieu
  • Thomas P Gunnarsson
  • Jan Holm Ingemann
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  • Heidi Simone Kristensen
  • Inger Stauning
  • Mathew Jessop-Fabre
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