Reducing the carbon footprint of the astronomical community.

 

Dear IAU President,

dear Ewine,

 

The climate and environmental crises are now well-established facts and their effects are more and more visible and severe as years pass. According to IPCC recent reports, we can hope to limit the trend by strongly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: by about half over the next decade, and by about 80% by 2050. This is a major challenge that will require all communities to adapt their behavior, including astronomers.

 

Several laboratories and institutions estimated their environmental impact and came to the conclusion that international conferences make a significant contribution to our community's GHG emissions. Examples at national levels can be found at the links below.

 

Large facilities (e.g. observational, computational…) also have important carbon footprint. However, they provide science data or results inaccessible otherwise. Lowering their contribution is mandatory, but this may take time. On the other hand, a rapid result could be obtained by a reduction and optimized organization of international meetings. This appears as the necessary first step to rapidly reduce the footprint of the astronomical community without affecting scientific progress.

 

The multiplication of international meetings, at a pace that is not always justified by scientific progress and at locations spread around the world,  has an obvious detrimental effect on the carbon impact of our community. Reducing the number of conferences and organizing them at optimized locations would straightforwardly save money and GHG emissions. The participation of scientists who live far from such optimized conference places could be secured by funding support at a larger scale than presently done. The cost could be shared by the countries located close to the optimized conference locations and benefitting from lower travel costs and emissions.

 

Face-to-face international conferences remain a necessity, especially to foster international collaborations, but could become much less numerous without damage, and be replaced as much as possible by web-based “virtual” conferences.  Efforts in this direction are currently underway in other disciplines, e.g. in biology https://cutt.ly/briwI5c .

 

Such evolutions need to be organized at worldwide level. The IAU is in the best position to make things move forward fast.  As the IAU president, we urge you to launch a global assessment of the CO2 impact of astronomical activities, implement immediate recommendations and actions and encourage national societies to join these efforts. It would be to your credit that the IAU demonstrates strong leadership on this urgent issue, and works quickly to make our professional practices coherent with current scientific knowledge about global warming.

 

Further discussion more specific to astronomy can be found here :

Astronomy in a Low-Carbon Future : https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.01272

The imperative to reduce carbon emissions in astronomy : https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.05834

Travel to academic conferences : https://www.nature.com/news/polopoly_fs/1.17125!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/519261a.pdf

 

With our warmest regards,

            The French Astronomical Society, SF2A

 

            The French Astronomical Community

 

Signatures :

Laurent Pagani

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Franćoise Roques

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Laurent Lamy

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Emmanuel Lellouch

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Pacôme Delva

Lecturer

Sorbonne Université, Observatoire de Paris

Pascal Bonnefond

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Fabrice Herpin

Senior Astronomer

Université de Bordeaux, SF2A President

Patrick de Laverny

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Pierrick Martin

Staff Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Carine Briand

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Vincent Coudé du Foresto

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Thierry Dudok de Wit

Professor

Université d'Orléans

Sylvie Cabrit

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Philippe Garnier

Lecturer

IRAP, Toulouse

Olivia Venot

Staff Researcher

Université de Créteil

Luigi Tibaldo

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Frédéric Boone

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Pierre Kervella

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Nicole Meyer-Vernet

Senior Researcher Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

Xavier Bonnin

Research Engineer

Observatoire de Paris

Jean-Franćois Lestrade

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Philippe Zarka

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Annie Hughes

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Christiane Vilain

Senior Researcher Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Olivier Ilbert

Staff Astronomer

Université Aix-Marseille

Martin Giard

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Jürgen Knödlseder

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

BenoĒt Sémelin

Professor

Sorbonne Université, Observatoire de Paris

Sylvie Brau-Nogué

Research Engineer

IRAP, Toulouse

Katia FerriŹre

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Mathieu Servillat

Research Engineer

Observatoire de Paris

Antoine Gusdorf

Staff Researcher

ENS, Paris

Franćois Levrier

Lecturer

ENS, Paris

Alexandre Marcowith

Staff Researcher

Université de Montpellier

Deirdre HORAN

Staff Researcher

Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau

Jean-Philippe LENAIN

Staff Researcher

LPNHE, Paris

Julie PRAST

Research Engineer

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Fabienne Casoli

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

David Valls-Gabaud

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Thomas Armstrong

Staff Researcher

Université Aix-Marseille

Pierre Jean

Professor

Université de Toulouse

Erwan Allys

Lecturer

ENS, Paris

Sylvain Chaty

Professor

Université de Paris

Norma G. Sanchez

Senior Researcher Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

Jacques Le Bourlot

Professor

Université Paris-Diderot, Observatoire de Paris

Philippe Bruel 

Staff Researcher

Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau

Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri

Senior Astronomer Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

Jérôme Rodriguez

Staff Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Marina Ricci

Associate Researcher

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Jean-Michel LAMARRE

Senior Researcher Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Andrea Chiavassa

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Astrid Lamberts

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Jean-Philippe Bernard

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Etienne Pointecouteau

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

BenoĒt Mosser

Professor

Observatoire de Paris

Aurélie Guilbert-Lepoutre

Staff Researcher

Université de Lyon-1

Michel Rieutord   

Professor 

Université de Toulouse – Paul Sabatier

Rémi ADAM

Staff Researcher

Ecole Polytechnique, Saclay

Pierre Encrenaz

Senior Astronomer Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

Vanessa Hill

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Michel Lintz

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Naēs Fargette

PhD student

IRAP, Toulouse

Vincent Génot

Senior Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Jean-Luc Atteia  

Senior Astronomer

Université de Toulouse

Thierry Contini

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Jeremie Lasue

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Frédéric PIRON

Senior Researcher

Université de Montpellier

Victor Hui

PhD Student

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Tania Regimbau

Senior Researcher

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Nardetto Nicolas 

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Jean Ballet

Senior Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Héloēse Méheut

Staff Researcher

Université de la Côte d’Azur

Jean-Franćois Glicenstein

Senior Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Matthieu Renaud

Staff Researcher

Université de Montpellier

Laurent Koechlin

Senior Astronomer Emeritus

IRAP, Toulouse

Philippe Galdemard

Research Engineer

CEA, Saclay

Johan Bregeon

Staff Researcher

LPSC, Grenoble

Maryvonne Gerin

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Didier Barret

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Georges Kordopatis

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

James Lequeux

Senior Astronomer Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Isabelle Ristorcelli 

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Frédéric Paletou

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, IRAP, Toulouse

NadŹge Lemarchand

PhD Student

IAS, Université de Paris-Saclay

Jean-Baptiste Durrive

PostDoc Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Nathalie Carrasco

Professor

Université de Versailles Saint Quentin

Claire Moutou

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Nicolas André

Staff Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Aurore Bacmann

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Grenoble

Thomas Vuillaume

PostDoc Researcher

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Loēc Rolland

Senior Researcher

Université de Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Corinne Charbonnel

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Grenoble et Université de GenŹve

Pierre Lesaffre

Staff Researcher

ENS, Paris

Karine Demyk

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Sylvain Bontemps

Senior Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

Philippe Salomé

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Nathalie Ysard

Staff Researcher

IAS, Université de Paris-Saclay

Déborah Paradis

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Anthony Banday

Senior Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Jean-Marc Petit

Senior Researcher

OSU Theta Beasnćon

Jean-Franćois Gonzalez

Lecturer

Observatoire de Lyon

Laurent Cambrésy

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Monique Arnaud

Senior Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Nicole Nesvadba 

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Pierre Hily-Blant

Lecturer

Université Grenoble Alpes

Grazyna Stasinska 

Senior Researcher Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

GwenaĎl Boué

Lecturer

Sorbonne Université, Observatoire de Paris

Fabrice Martins

Staff Researcher

Université de Montpellier

Dimitri Chuard

PostDoc Researcher

Université de Paris-Diderot

Isabelle Boisse

Staff Astronomer

Université d’Aix-Marseille

Richard Dallier

Lecturer

SUBATECH, Nantes

Lars Bonne

PhD Student

Université de Bordeaux

Sophie Maurogordato

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur

Michel Tallon

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de Lyon

Sandrine Pires

Staff Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Annie Robin

Staff Researcher

OSU Theta Beasnćon

Philip Tuckey 

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Marc Sauvage

Senior Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Jérémy Leconte

Staff Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

Laurence Rezeau

Professor

Sorbonne Université

Lisa Bugnet

PhD Student

CEA, Saclay

Pierre-Alain Duc

Senior Researcher

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Jonathan Braine

Senior Astronomer

Université de Bordeaux

Melaine Saillenfest

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Gilles Duvert

Senior Astronomer

Université Grenoble Alpes

Alain Hui-Bon-Hoa

Lecturer

IRAP, Toulouse

Philippe Rousselot

Professor

OSU Theta Beasnćon

Benjamin Charnay

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Douglas Marshall

Lecturer

Université de Toulouse Paul Sabatier

Hervé Cottin

Professor

Université Paris Est Créteil

Alain Doressoundiram

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Coralie Neiner

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Gérard Jasniewicz

Senior Astronomer

Université de Montpellier

Valentine Wakelam

Senior Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

Miho Janvier

Staff Astronomer

IAS, Université de Paris-Saclay

Caroline Soubiran

Senior Astronomer

Université de Bordeaux

Jean-Marie Hameury

Senior Researcher

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Jérôme Guilet

Staff Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Batiste Rousseau

PostDoc Researcher

INAF-IAPS

Jean-Marie Malherbe

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Martin Turbet

PostDoc Researcher

Observatoire Astronomique de GenŹve

Arnaud Cassan

Lecturer

Sorbonne Université

Estelle Moraux

Lecturer

Université Grenoble-Alpes

HélŹne Sol

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Karrine Perraut

Senior Astronomer

Université Grenoble Alpes, Observatoire de Grenoble

Fabio Acero

Staff Researcher

CEA, Saclay

Jihane Moultaka

Staff Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Pierre Gratier

Staff Astronomer

Université de Bordeaux

Emmanuel di Folco

Staff Astronomer

Université de Bordeaux

Jean-Claude Bourret

Senior Researcher

Université Aix-Marseille

Jürgen Kiener

Senior Researcher

Université de Paris-Saclay

Franćois Spite

Senior Astronomer Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Samuel Boissier

Senior Researcher

Université Aix-Marseille

Mathilde Gaudel

PostDoc Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Olivier Groussin

Staff Astronomer

Université Aix-Marseille

Audrey Coutens

PostDoc Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

Yann Le Coq

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Christian Bizouard

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Muriel Gargaud

Senior Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

Alexandre Le Tiec

Staff Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Franck Selsis

Senior Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

IsmaĎl Cognard

Senior Researcher

OSUC, Université d’Orléans

Lucas Guillemot

Staff Astronomer

OSUC, Université d’Orléans

Alain Léger

Senior Astronomer Emeritus

IAS, Université de Paris-Saclay

Marianne Lemoine-Goumard

Staff Researcher

Université de Bordeaux

CharlŹne LefŹvre

PostDoc Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Peter Wolf

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

RaphaĎl Mignon-Risse

PhD Student

CEA, Saclay

Emmanuel Bertin

Senior Astronomer

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

HélŹne Roussel

Staff Astronomer

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

Véronique Buat

Professor

Université Aix-Marseille

BenoĒt Epinat

Staff Astronomer

Université Aix-Marseille

Corentin Louis

PostDoc Researcher

IRAP, Toulouse

Stéphane Arnouts

Staff Researcher

Université Aix-Marseille

Pierre Barge

Senior Astronomer

Université Aix-Marseille

Miguel MontargŹs

PostDoc Researcher

KU Leuven, Belgique

Vincent Le Brun

Lecturer

Université Aix-Marseille

Philippe Amram

Professor

Université Aix-Marseille

Marc Ferrari

Senior Astronomer

Université Aix-Marseille

Denis Burgarella

Senior Researcher

Université Aix-Marseille

Yves-Paul Viala

Senior Astronomer Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Patrick Petitjean

Senior Astronomer

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

Stéphane Blondin

Staff Researcher

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Frédéric Arenou

Senior Research Engineer

Observatoire de Paris

Sébastien DerriŹre

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Aymeric Spiga

Lecturer

Sorbonne Université

Caroline Bot

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Franck Pereira dos Santos

Senior Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Bertrand Goldman

Lecturer

International Space University (near Strasbourg)

Pierre Guillard

Lecturer

Sorbonne Université

Olivier Poch

PostDoc Researcher

Université Grenoble Alpes

Roger Ferlet

Senior Researcher Emeritus

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

Catherine Boisson

Senior Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Catherine Brunet

Documentation Engineer

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Pierre Auclair-Desrotour

PostDoc Researcher

University of Bern, Switzerland

Patrick Boissé

Professor Emeritus

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

Robert Mochkovitch

Senior Researcher

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

Nicole Feautrier

Senior Astronomer Honorary

Observatoire de Paris

Pierre Léna

Professor Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

Bertrand Plez

Professor

Université de Montpellier

David Maurin

Staff Researcher

LPSC, Grenoble

Éric Josselin

Lecturer

Université de Montpellier

Quentin Salomé

PostDoc Researcher

INAOE, Puebla, Mexico

Cinthya Herrera

PostDoc Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Ana Lopez

Staff Astronomer

IRAM, Grenoble

Roberto Neri

Senior Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Carsten Kramer

Senior Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Arancha Castro-Carrizo

Staff Astronomer

IRAM, Grenoble

Orsolya Feher

PostDoc Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Jan-Martin Winters

Senior Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Quentin Kral

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de Paris

Ka Tat Wong

PostDoc Researcher

IRAM, Grenoble

Nicole Capitaine

Senior Astronomer Emeritus

Observatoire de Paris

GeneviŹve Soucail

Senior Astronomer

IRAP, Toulouse

Pascal Bordé

Professor

Université de Bordeaux

Yohan Dubois

Staff Researcher

Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

César Gattano

PostDoc Researcher

University of Bern, Switzerland

Alba Vidal García

PostDoc Researcher

ENS, Paris

Marie-HélŹne Grondin

Lecturer

Université de Bordeaux

Jesse Palmerio

PostDoc Researcher

Observatoire de Paris

Felicitas Arias

Long term visitor

Observatoire de Paris

Cécile Loup

Staff Researcher

Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg

Isabelle Vauglin

Staff Astronomer

Observatoire de Lyon

Anne Dutrey

Senior Researcher

Université de Bordeaux