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Exemplary measures taken by universities and public administrations

This initiative has chosen the self-regulation approach, but there are institutions that go far beyond this.

Regulations restricting short-haul flights at scientific institutions

The Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) Berlin forbids short-haul flights that can be completed with alternative means of transport in less than 6 hours; flights that take longer are nevertheless compensated at the HTW (report in the Tagesspiegel, 2019-09-25).

As of 2010 the Catholic Private University of Linz reimburses flights only if the most convenient train connection exceeds a travel time of 8 hours and if, in addition, CO2 emissions have been compensated via atmosfair. The compensation costs are reimbursable to the same extent as all other costs of the journey. (details on EAMS at the university)

The Hochschule für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (HNEE) has completely banned short-haul flights by presidential resolution when the destination is less than 1000km away and can be reached by train in less than 10 hours. Flights below this distance may only be made in exceptional cases (with justification).

The SFB 1287 of the University of Potsdam will no longer reimburse short-haul flights 1000km/12h from 2020.

The Institute for Energy Technology of the HSR University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (CH) has decided to no longer allow flights under 1000km/12h. 88% of the members of the institute voted for this regulation, 6% abstained.

Measures to reduce air travel at scientific institutions

In autumn 2016, ETH Zurich drew up a framework concept (PDF, 286 KB) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from air travel for ETH employees and students and launched a concrete project on this subject in spring 2017 (https://ethz.ch/de/die-eth-zuerich/organisation/schulleitung/vizepraesident-infrastruktur/mobilitaetsplattform/flugreisen.html).

The departments as well as management and administrative bodies of ETH Zurich have committed themselves to a per capita reduction of approximately 11% between 2019 and 2025 compared with the average for 2016-2018, and have defined the corresponding measures to be taken. The reduction targets and measures include air travel by employees and students .

In addition, the majority of the departments offset flight emissions, with ETH Zurich joining the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). This is not a substitute for real reduction, but an additional measure and transitional solution. Six departments have also decided to introduce their own internal carbon tax as a steering tax. The proceeds are to be invested in teaching, research, or the promotion of young researchers with a focus on CO2-reducing topics. All departments support the expansion of video conferencing.

In order to measure flight emissions much more accurately than before, a new monitoring system for flight emissions will be introduced in 2019. Fundamental  are the definitions contained in the project description. The flights of all organizational units are entered centrally with the flight number, trip class, and flight date. The departments and administrative units receive monthly extracts of their flight-related CO2 emissions. This allows one to react quickly and, for example, prefer airlines with more efficient fleets. The air travel project will be subject to interim evaluation three years after the start of the project in 2022.

Support of societies

  • VBIO Verband Biologie, Biowissenschaftm & Biomedizin in Deutschland (30.000 members): statement
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Philosophie e.V. (2600 mebers): News