Invited Talk - Splinter Diversity

Wednesday, 14 September 2022, 17:40   (SFG 1020 / virtual Diversity)

Astronomy and the climate crisis

Leonard Burtscher
Leiden Observatory

Astronomy is a fascinating, but energy-intensive business. Frequent, long-distance flights, the operation of observatories at remote locations, as well as the execution of CPU-intensive simulations lead to per-capita greenhouse gas emission significantly larger than those of the general population. Fortunately, inexpensive solutions, that would significantly reduce our carbon footprint immediately, are available. In this seminar, I will break down the typical emissions from astronomical research and argue that we should reduce our own emissions significantly and become role models for demanding realistic change while continuing to collaborate globally. Perhaps more importantly, astronomers can convey awe for the wonders of the universe, a sense of the uniqueness of our planet, and a feeling of global citizenship -- an important ingredient to provoke a feeling of urgency about the climate crisis, that ideally leads to climate action.