News Brief

Colleges Making Progress—and Money—on Their Carbon Commitments

Schools that have signed the Presidents’ Climate Commitment have had some success but still need to cut emissions in half by 2031.

In its progress report, the College for the Holy Cross reported a 41% decrease in gross greenhouse gas emissions from 2007—mostly due to purchasing electricity from hydropower sources and building new construction to LEED specifications.

Photo: George Rypysc III. License: CC BY SA 3.0
Progress is being made at the 675 colleges and universities that have signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment since its launch in 2007, according to an update from the organization. The pledge sets interim reduction targets to cut gross greenhouse gas emissions 14.4 million metric tons by 2031.

Cumulative reductions to date total 1.9 million metric tons of C02-equivalent, according to inventory reports from 520 institutions, with top runners reducing their emissions on average by 19%. However, even with that progress, signatories will have to collectively reduce their total emissions from today’s rate by 51% if they are to meet their goal.

Of the schools that have submitted a formal progress statement, 66% reported that their emissions cap has saved them money, and it is clear that sustainability is influencing other aspects of their institutions as well. 15,527 faculty members pursue sustainability research at 198 of the signatory schools, and 86 schools consider sustainability such a core knowledge area that they have included it in their general education requirements.

For more information:

ACUPCC Progress Summary

Published January 5, 2015

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