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KTH's greenwashing

KTH:s skenarbete med klimatpåverkan

KTH’ impact on the climate comes from two sources: its operations and its future impact.


Future impact is the future influence on the climate coming from our current technology research and education. Historically, technological innovation has been a primary driver of climate pollution. Whether KTH' current technological innovations - for some yet unknown reason - would have an opposite climate effect in the future can neither be proven or known and is beyond KTH’ control (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox).

KTH does have control over its operations. 

To get a grip of KTH’ current climate impact, we can look at KTH’ own reporting (https://intra.kth.se/styrning/miljo-hallbar-utveckling/overgripande-rapport/rapport-till-naturvardsverket-1.889279).

Electricity use, heating and cooling account for much of our energy consumption. Here, KTH claims 96% renewable energy consumption, leaving little room for further reducing climate impact.

Of all travel impact, >90% of the carbon pollution comes from flights longer than 500 km. Long flights are therefore KTH’ most important source of carbon pollution, exceeding 1.1 ton CO2 per employee per year. (1.1 ton CO2 equals 12% of the annual carbon pollution of the average Swedish citizen.) In 2015, and renewed in 2021, KTH set the goal to reduce its flight impact with 40% compared to the 2015 level (https://intra.kth.se/styrning/miljo-hallbar-utveckling/styrande-dokument-for-mhu/overgripande-hallbar-klimat/resurshushallning-1.1048096). However, no policy has supported achieving this goal. Nobody has been asked to fly less. During a faculty breakfast meeting on November 19 2019, the former rektor said that she “did not want to put down her foot in this matter”. As a result, our 2023 flight impact still equals the 2015 level. This is a management failure.


If KTH does not address its largest source of carbon pollution, it cannot claim to address sustainability. I challenge KTH to move from greenwashing to becoming an exemplary organisation for others. From “listen to the science” to “look at the scientists”.