Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on GHG Emissions of a University: A Case Study in the Philippines


Recent research indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a decrease of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, although relatively small on the global scale. Such is the case in the education sector where emissions are mainly due to high academic mobility, the implementation of lockdown and shift from classroom to remote learning are expected to change emission profile. Our study aims to establish the impact of the pandemic on university emissions using University of the Philippines Cebu (UPC) as a case study. Emissions in 2019 and 2020 were calculated to compare with base year emissions in 2018. Total GHG emissions in 2018 was estimated to be 1,177.6 tCO2e then increased by 6.2% in 2019 due to increased student enrolment. In 2020 the distribution of emission sources changed significantly including reduced electricity consumption, solid and water waste generation, and overseas travel. Meanwhile, emissions from fuel consumption of university vehicles increased by 40.0%. As public transportation became limited, the university decided to use school buses as service vehicles for the daily commute of employees, hence the sharp rise in fuel consumption. Effects of the pandemic on university activities eventually resulted in GHG emissions of 650.0 tCO2e, equivalent to 48.9% decrease. If the pandemic had not occurred, which entails business as usual scenario, 2020 emission is expected to reach 1,336.8 tCO2e. Results suggest that the pandemic response of UPC has shifted its GHG emission characteristics, therefore its carbon neutrality plan must also be adjusted accordingly.

Author Information
Aiza Cortes, University of the Philippines Cebu, Philippines
Leticia dos Muchangos, Osaka University, Japan
Krissa Joy Tabornal, University of the Philippines Cebu, Philippines
Hans Diether Tolabing, University of the Philippines Cebu, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACSEE2021
Stream: Environmental Sustainability & Environmental Management: Atmosphere and Air

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon