In May 2011, Carleton College adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to become climate neutral, that is, to have net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by 2050.
The College’s Climate Action Plan Steering Committee drafted the CAP. The committee is comprised of students, faculty, staff, and trustees as part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signed by both President Oden and Poskanzer, along with 670 other colleges.
According to Carleton’s 2008 GHG inventory, purchased natural gas and electricity accounts for 86% of emissions (now less with our new wind turbine). Thus, the CAP is largely focused on reducing energy consumption and finding alternative energy sources. Reduction in demand and alternative energy sources will not only decrease our GHG emissions, but also provide some risk management against future energy price volatility and the potential for direct or indirect costs to Carleton due to future GHG regulations.
The CAP has five main focus areas: 1) Energy Supply and Demand, 2) Transportation, 3) Waste Management, 4) Procurement, 5) Land Management. The plan is also split into timeframes. The current phase, 2010-2020, focuses mostly on low or no cost initiatives that result in paybacks within a ten year timeframe, such as campus-wide energy audits, replacing Carleton’s boiler #1, behavioral change, improved waste management, establishing college purchasing standards and the wind turbine (now completed). Later timeframes focus on more capital intensive and bolder initiatives.
The CAP offers many short-termand long term initiatives of varying costs to keep Carleton on the track to climate neutrality. The document will be updated annually to make changes as new opportunities arise and is open to input.
The CAP is available on the Carleton’s sustainability website for download.
Amber Kim ‘14
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