Russell Group universities churn out more carbon emissions than Greenland

They were collectively responsible for over 750k tonnes of CO2 emissions in a single year

The UK’s top universities are churning out more carbon emissions than countries like Greenland.

Collectively, the universities that make up the Russell Group were responsible for 766,213.65 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the academic year 2020/21.

Meanwhile, the entire country of Greenland produced about 500,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2020.

Admittedly, the 2020 population of Greenland was around 56,000. That’s not too far off UCL’s 2021 student population which stood at around 45,000.

For context, the government estimates the United Kingdom as a whole produced 341.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021.

Even so, the Russell Group’s carbon footprint is roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from over 160,000 cars driven for a year.

Some members of the Russell Group produced more carbon emissions than others.

The University of Edinburgh produced over 64,785.05 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the 2020/21 academic year.

In second and third place were Imperial and Cambridge, producing 58,264.68 tonnes and 55,383.79 tonnes respectively.

At the greener end of the spectrum is LSE, producing just 7,392.81 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Here’s a ranking of the Russell Group universities from most to least CO2 emissions produced in a single academic year.

The University of Birmingham was the only Russell Group university to not provide data on its carbon emissions. The Russell Group has been contacted for comment.

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