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AUC Joins UN's Race To Zero Campaign

The American University in Cairo (AUC) joins the Race to Zero campaign, a UN-backed global initiative aimed at achieving a zero-carbon world. AUC has pledged to halving its emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. Race to Zero aims to rally leadership and support from colleges and universities across the globe for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth,” says Yasmin Mansour, AUC’s sustainability director.

With AUC's Climate Change Initiative ramping up ahead of Egypt hosting the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), joining the campaign was a no-brainer, according to Khaled Tarabieh, University architect and associate professor in the Department of Architecture. "AUC is always looking for opportunities to join models of excellence and best practices," he said. "In line with our preparations for COP27, we believe our participation would situate us perfectly and align well with our work."

 

AUC will now set up an action plan with short-term goals. The University will focus on improving areas such as energy use, transportation, solid waste disposal and campus design — drawing from recommendations made in its biennial Carbon Footprint Report.

"Curbing our emissions on campus is a primary operational goal and key for our mitigation of climate change challenges," Tarabieh said. "We have so far reduced our carbon footprint by 35% using a smarter set of operational strategies since we started looking at our emissions 10 years ago." 

Moving forward, AUC is committed to furthering reductions, institutionalizing sustainability in both operations and curricula, optimizing the performance of our existing buildings, and planning for greener buildings with minimum environmental load and emissions.

As a leader of sustainability in the MENA region, we hope AUC’s commitment to the Race to Zero campaign encourages other institutions to join us in taking meaningful action towards reducing our carbon emissions in the face of climate change,” says Mansour.

Net zero refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as closely as feasible to zero, with any leftover emissions being reabsorbed from the atmosphere. At AUC, this means reducing energy usage and air travel and rethinking waste disposal.

Climate change is one of the most significant environmental challenges facing humankind,” adds Mansour. “Universities play a vital role in helping to solve the climate crisis. Higher education does this through research, community engagement, student activity and sustainable operations.”

With this move, AUC is joining what Mansour described as “a well-established international alliance” that includes more than 1,000 educational institutions including Goldsmiths University of London, University of Cambridge, Stockholm University and Concordia University and represented by over 10 million students worldwide in the race for a healthier, fairer, and cleaner world.

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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American- accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 39 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.