Put your mark on the upcoming climate and environmental strategy
A specific 2030 climate target and the establishment of an Oslo Sustainability Centre at Lower Blindern are some of the proposals in the draft for a new and comprehensive climate and environmental strategy for UiO. Students and staff are invited to provide input.
– We have had many but constructive discussions. There has been solid agreement within the group about the overall objective. This will be an ambitious climate and environmental strategy for UiO, and in addition we wanted to keep it concrete and realistic, says Vebjørn Bakken, Director of UiO:Energy and chair of the working group.
– On the one hand, the strategy should not be too overarching and diffuse. On the other hand, it is going to be around for a while, although of course it should be revised on a regular basis. I think the working group feels that we have achieved a good balance: the strategy covers both overall objectives and more detailed sub-goals, as well as concrete measures. We have not quantified and set down deadlines; that must be further developed in separate action plans when the strategy has been adopted, he says.
Ready for input from students and staff
The strategy proposal has been published online, with opportunity for students and staff to provide their input:
The proposal will also be presented for consultation among UiO's units. On 22 September an open meeting will be held for students and staff in order to debate the strategy. The proposed timeline is for the final strategy to be adopted by the University Board in December.
– I strongly believe that the strategy and following up on it will be a key part of UiO's activities going forward. We have skilled and committed students and employees, and a new Vice-Rector, Mette Halskov Hansen, with special responsibility for climate, environment and interdisciplinarity. Such ownership is important, says Bakken.
He emphasises that the strategy is specific to UiO:
– This is our strategy – it is not a climate and environmental strategy that can be implemented at just any university. It is based on what we are currently doing and what we ought to do next.
Climate goals and new sustainability centre?
In addition to a specific climate target which entails reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% (including both direct and indirect emissions), one proposal in the strategy is to establish a student-run "Green Office" that, among other things, can increase student participation in the university's climate and environmental work.
Another key proposal is the establishment of an Oslo Sustainability Centre at Lower Blindern, where large areas will be released when the forthcoming Life Science Building is complete. Such a centre should largely be based on existing research and teaching but should also constitute more than the sum of the individual components of multidisciplinary facilities and enhanced public relations.
Vice-Rector Mette Halskov Hansen praises the working group's strategy proposals.
– The draft strategy rests on very thorough work, and it is ambitious in many areas. The measures presented also underline the importance of us cooperating more both nationally and internationally, and with the society around us, on these issues, she says.
The working group is proposing a number of measures of varying scope, and has been concerned that it is the breadth and diversity of the measures that will be decisive. If the strategy is to work, effort is required in all areas.
– All the measures presented are relevant; each of them is important in different ways to create positive momentum to the climate and environmental efforts at UiO. Parts of it might have to be further improved; in addition, we need a debate on priorities and choices and how to best implement the measures. The working group's proposal for an Oslo Sustainability Centre is exciting: A research-based hub that we can connect to national and international cooperation such as the innovation district Oslo Science City and the European education cooperation Circle U., says Halskov Hansen.
– But there are many implications and so we need proper discussions. I therefore hope that a large number of students and staff will give feedback to the proposal, participate in the debate meeting in September as well as in a formal hearing.
The working group behind the proposal consists in addition to Vebjørn Bakken of Beate Sjåfjell (JUS), Brita Slettemark (Klimahuset, NHM), Dag Hessen (MN), Elin Lerum Boasson (Sv), Erik Knain (UV), Per Ditlef Fredriksen (HF), Sidsel Roalkvam (SUM), Benedikte Marie Espeland (University Board, Student Parliament), Jørgen Hammer Skogan (University Board, Student Parliament), Eva Helene Mjelde (University Director's Staff) and Anne-Line Sandåker (p.t. UiO:Energi).