Thomas Daae Stridsland

Universities can lead the way in the green transition

Emissions inventory

Thomas Daae Stridsland has used interdisciplinarity to show universities how they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.                                                 

When Thomas Daae Stridsland came to Aarhus University as a PhD scholar, his mission was clear. The University was in the process of developing methods for calculating and managing its carbon footprint and turning knowledge into action. But the research was lacking.

“Emissions inventories is a largely unstudied subject. It therefore made sense that I should produce a series of case studies on a number of subjects, which would eventually be used as empirical data in my thesis. It seemed that no matter where I looked, the science was lacking,” Thomas Daae Stridsland says.

He is compelled by a desire to do research that makes a tangible difference outside the university. As a master’s degree student at the University of Copenhagen, he had taken a course on climate solutions, which matched university students with companies looking for help with their emissions inventory and green transition. Thomas Daae Stridsland took a similar approach in his PhD project and refined it in the case studies.

“The master’s degree in climate change is interdisciplinary. And my PhD project proved that natural science is not enough. Together with a student of philosophy, I wrote an article arguing that our ability to successfully manage the climate crisis depends on individuals’ and groups’ ability to change. We need cross-disciplinary solutions, which is evident from my research,” he says.

A main element in that context is transitional risks. Thomas Daae Stridsland’s study shows that a university looking to reduce its risks should 1) cooperate closely with society and – as the view of sustainability begins to change – 2) show that it makes an active effort to combat climate change. As first author of Aarhus University’s cross-disciplinary emissions inventory and a best practice guide to universities produced together with Universities Denmark, Thomas Daae Stridsland has indeed helped make Denmark a pioneer country in the area.

Thomas Daae Stridsland is now a postdoc of Climate and Food Security at the University of Copenhagen.