As of today, 111 college Presidents have signed on to an initiative, The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, that commits their campuses to become carbon neutral. Second Nature, ecoAmerica and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) initiated the campaign to leverage the unique responsibility and leadership that institutions of higher education can have in addressing global warming at the local level.
This initiative is certainly only in the goal setting stage but the pledge being signed commits the campuses to act quickly and move as fast as possible to meet carbon neutral goals. We here at Democratic Energy hope that many more institutions get involved in this initiative. But we are keenly interested in seeing efforts by these schools to do as much as possible in terms of energy conservation and onsite renewable energy development before considering offsite CO2 offsets.
Presidents signing the Commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions over time. This involves:
- Completing an emissions inventory
- Within two years, setting a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
- Taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
- Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and making it part of the educational experience.
- Making the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.