ASA Statement on Sustainability

Human development is rapidly changing the Earth, bringing our civilisation to a crisis point. Amongst problems of biodiversity loss, pollution, resource depletion, and pandemic disease, climate change is the single biggest threat to long-term human civilisation.

The Astronomical Society of Australia supports efforts to reduce the undeniable impact of global warming.

Studies have shown that each individual astronomer’s greatest professional contributions to greenhouse gas emissions are through:

  • Power generation for facilities used by astronomers, especially supercomputing centres (60% overall contribution)
  • Airline travel to conferences and committee meetings (20% overall contribution)

The ASA is therefore committing to reducing the climate impact of Australian astronomy from these two sources. As such, the ASA commits to:

  • Holding in-person meetings only when necessary, and working with the community to improve the experience of remote meetings, especially for groups that would be otherwise disadvantaged.
  • Advocating for sustainably-powered HPC solutions, and supporting schemes to improve code efficiency, by liaising with partner organisations on behalf of its members, and
  • Supporting an ongoing Sustainability group to foster further improvement in the sustainability of Australian astronomy in the long term.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has a statement on Climate Change available here.