University air travel and greenhouse gas mitigation: An analysis of higher education climate policies


Higher education institutions have been involved with environmental and sustainability issues since at least the 1970s. More recently, efforts have shifted to a specific focus on climate change. Numerous institutions have created policies that aim to reduce their carbon footprints, with an emphasis on energy production and consumption and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. One area that has received less attention has been greenhouse gas emissions from university air travel. The present research used qualitative document analysis to examine the climate policies of 46 public doctoral institutions to understand how they address university air travel greenhouse gas mitigation. Five major themes emerged in this research: no consideration of air travel, lack of quality data for accurate consideration, recommendations to offset air travel emissions, support for videoconferencing, and other suggestions for mitigation. These themes are discussed in detail, as are practical suggestions and implications stemming from this and related research.

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Anthony Schmidt
Data Scientist

My research interests include climate change, society, and education. I also have a focus on quantitative methods, including data science education and data visualization.