The University has made enormous progress in reducing carbon emissions over the last decade. Emissions peaked in 2010 and have fallen ever since; this peak will form the baseline for the new target. But it is likely to miss its previous target of cutting emissions 33% by 2021, relative to 2006 levels.
This is largely because the University estate has grown by around a third since the target was set, including numerous energy-hungry new scientific facilities. The old target was also mainly based on theoretical calculations; the Environmental Sustainability team now has vastly more practical experience and a much better idea of what can be achieved. For instance, they are now focusing their efforts on the largest sources of emissions, such as labs, and have moved to the Passivhaus approach for creating energy-efficient new buildings. They are confident the new target is achievable if the whole University works together.
For more information on the new target and how you can get involved, please see the Sustainability website.