Posts Tagged ‘climate disruption’

The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is celebrating five years of higher education’s leadership on the critical issues of our time, with new data from signatories’ public reports showing unprecedented success and innovation in renewable energy, curriculum, energy efficiency, green building, and financial savings. 202 institutions have submitted Progress Reports on their implementation of the commitment in the first five years, showing the following results, which are indicative of progress throughout the network.  While reports are still coming in and numbers are subject to change, preliminary analysis of the latest data shows:

  • Collectively, the ACUPCC represents the 3rd largest purchaser of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in the United States, with 156 Signatories purchasing a total of 1,279,765,254 kWh RECs.
  • 175 signatories report current curriculum offerings include 9,548 courses focused on sustainability
  • 67% of signatories affirmed that their Climate Action Plan has saved their institution money.  Generating total savings of $100 million dollars.
  • The 406 institutions that have submitted more than one GHG inventory have reduced cumulative annual CO2e emissions by approximately 384,000 metric tons — an average of 970 tons per year per institution
  • Reporting signatories show a total renewable energy output of 170,000,000 kwh — the equivalent of powering 14,617 American households electricity for one year.

Through the ACUPCC, higher education has become the only sector in the U.S. with a critical mass committed to the scientifically necessary goal of climate neutrality.  During the first 5 years of the initiative, over 700 colleges and universities in the US signed the ACUPCC, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and every type of public and private institution (2-year, 4-year, research university).  6 million students attend ACUPCC institutions – approximately one-third of all college and university students in the United States. International initiatives modeled after the ACUPCC have launched in Scotland and Peru, and similar initiatives are being explored in Taiwan, Australia, and Hungary.

It is a rare example of a voluntary initiative that includes accountability through the ongoing public reporting process, to which all ACUPCC signatories agree.  All public reports are available on the ACUPCC Reporting System at rs.acupcc.org.

Measuring Success


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Below is an opportunity that has come to our attention from a respected colleague, Bob Doppelt, who is working with others on the National Climate Ethics Campaign. Please see Bob’s note below and consider showing your support for their efforts by signing the statement if you agree with its content. We believe it is very much inline with the goals of the ACUPCC and a powerful way to demonstrate the moral imperative for taking meaningful action on climate.

More details about the National Climate Ethics Campaign can be found below Bob’s note.

Dear Colleagues,

This note is to ask you to consider signing a statement developed by the National Climate Ethics Campaign that individually and collectively our great nation has a moral obligation to address climate change.

The statement and endorsement form can be found here: http://climateethicscampaign.org/statement.

News from the International Energy Agency this summer that CO2 emissions in 2010 were the highest in history and atmospheric CO2 has now risen to levels that are precariously close to pushing surface temperatures beyond 2 degrees C underscores the importance of taking aggressive action to address climate change.

The National Climate Ethics Campaign is therefore seeking signatures on the statement from a broad spectrum of national leaders, including current and former Republican and Democratic officials as well as leaders from the business, finance, faith, youth, academic, and other communities. It will be released to Congress, every state legislature and every governor, the business and non-profit community and general public nationwide in the fall of this year. Please consider endorsing the statement.


Bob Doppelt

Executive Director, The Resource Innovation Group

Steering Committee Member, National Climate Ethics Campaign

About the Climate Ethics Campaign:

In early 2011, a group of 27 people representing conservative and liberal organizations and constituencies from across the nation came together to form the Climate Ethics Campaign. The campaign seeks to make clear to leaders at every level of society that when deciding if or how to respond to climate change we must acknowledge and act on our nation’s long held moral principles: to protect current and future generations from unjustifiable suffering and death, to act in a just and equitable manner, and to protect the Earth’s natural systems that support all life, including ours.

Acting on these moral principles requires that the U.S. rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for climate change, and help the people most impacted here and abroad respond to the impacts.

The campaign steering committee has written a ‘Statement of our Nation’s Moral Responsibility to Address Climate Change.‘ Because climate change affects everyone, we are now seeking signatures of endorsement on the statement from Republicans and Democrats as well as conservatives, moderates, liberals and all other leaders from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors nationwide. It will be released to President Obama, Congress, each governor, key leaders within the private sector, and the media in the fall.

Following the release of the statement, the campaign will assist organizations, sectors and communities nationwide to continually insist that when making decisions about energy use, emission reductions, or climate preparedness and adaptation our moral obligations must hold equal or greater weight to economic or national self-interest.

Learn more at http://climateethicscampaign.org

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By Nick Braica, Communications Intern, Second Nature

Coming in February, Carbon Nation is “a climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change.” The documentary explores the impact that climate change has on other social, economic, and national security issues, even if you refuse to believe that climate change is something to be concerned about. Carbon Nation also features former CIA director and 2010 ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit keynote speaker James Woolsey discussing how our nation’s addiction to oil and how it is threatening our national security.

Visit the official movie website at CarbonNation.com to support and learn more about the film.

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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Lima, Peru to participate in an exciting seminar with leaders from universities, government, business, and NGOs on higher education’s opportunity to lead the shift to sustainability. As is the case in most countries around the world, Peru’s energy ministries are working to take control of their energy future.  With the geopolitical issues, volatile prices, supply constraints, security threats, and imminent threat of climate disruption, we need to make fossil fuels yesterday’s energy source.  And quickly.

How to do so is of course another question – particularly when there is a need for continued economic growth and increased standards of living.  (‘developed’ countries like the US don’t need to keep growing the amount of physical through-puts in our economy to improve our quality of life, in fact I think the opposite is true, but there’s still room for such growth in Peru with 20% of the country without access to electricity and 36% living in poverty).


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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Georges Dyer

The April issue of the College Planning & Management is once again focused on sustainability this year and provides a wealth of information and examples on green building and sustainable campus planning.

Topics covered include education for sustainability at UC San Diego (“Learning Green” by Rex Graham); repurposed materials for buildings at Johnson State College (“A New Use for Old Wood Bleachers” by Tonya West); and green IT at campuses across the country (“IT Is Easy Being Green” by Rhonda Morin).

Tony Cortese and I also had the opportunity to submit an article titled “The Commitment to Change” on the importance of leadership from senior administrators (in addition to all of the tremendous and necessary leadership from students, faculty, and staff) in really embedding a sustainability perspective into the culture of the institution.

In it we discuss how the 675 (now 684) signatory presidents of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment are demonstrating the leadership-by-example needed on the institutional level, but also for the higher education sector as whole, to create a low-carbon, sustainable future.  We stress the importance of continued active involvement and leadership by presidents and other senior administrators after the piece of paper is signed.  Last year, members of the ACUPCC Steering Committee developed a document called Leading Profound Change to lays out strategies and examples for doing just that.  Finally, we touch on how the ACUPCC, while nominally focused on the challenge of climate disruption, inevitably brings institutions to confront the broader and inter-related sustainability challenges – and how higher education’s leadership is vital to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society.

It is great to see the focus on sustainability continue to grow in these types of professional periodicals.  Of course, we’re still working towards the day when we won’t need ‘green issues’ because planning, management, and professional development will have a sustainability perspective as a matter of course, but these are important and forward-looking steps towards that day.  To stay up to date on the latest news and resources on campus green building, visit the new Campus Green Builder web-portal developed by Second Nature: www.campusgreenbuilder.org.

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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Georges Dyer

Bowdoin is gearing up for Climate Days – a series of lectures, art installations, and performances that will engage the entire campus community in the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Bowdoin College - Carbon Neutral by 2020

Bowdoin has submitted its climate action plan to the ACUPCC and is aiming to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 through a combination of on-site reduction, supporting grid improvements, addressing commuting and investing in renewable energy credits and offsets appropriately.

Any institution addressing climate disruption, and proactively driving innovative solutions, will need input and cooperation across departments and groups, and Bowdoin is certainly taking this approach, as the Climate Days news release explains:

Climate Days, an ongoing interdisciplinary effort, are sponsored by an array of groups, including the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Committee, Africana Studies, Arctic Studies, Athletics, Bowdoin Architecture and Design Association, Coastal Studies Center, Common Hour, English Department, Environmental Studies, Evergreens, Gender and Women’s Studies, Green Global Initiatives, History Department, McKeen Center for the Common Good, Music Department, Santagata Lecture Series and Sustainable Bowdoin.

Bowdoin also has a new blog – Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture – written by Philip Camill, Rusack Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Bowdoin.  Camill plans to “analyze environmental change by focusing on the interaction between nature and culture, showcasing big ideas from all disciplines,” – and he’s off to a great start, covering topics of climate disruption, climate denial, communications, food security, environmental literacy and much more.

The Climate Days initiative, the Global Change blog, the climate action plan, the recent Sustainability Institute Bowdoin students helped organize – taken all together, these steps demonstrate what a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to sustainability Bowdoin is taking, and you can get a sense of the excitement it is generating on campus, just from reading about it.

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by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Georges DyerThe Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) is the most recent member of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) network.

This video shows MATC instructor and Green Energy Summit Chairperson Dr. George Stone introducing MATC President Dr. Michael L. Burke, who signs the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment on March 24, 2010:

The depth of MATC’s commitment and seriously with which they enter into this network are clear from level of engagement of faculty, administrators, and trustees in the decision-making process.  It’s also clear from the investments they’ve already planned.

MATC has partnered with Johnson Controls (an ACUPCC sponsor) to develop the state’s largest PV solar array – a $6.9 million “solar education farm” that will help train technicians.  The 2,500 panels will general 411 kw of electricity and save $70,000 per year.  It will also be total portable.

This is a great demonstration of leadership by President Burke and the entire MATC community -congratulations and welcome to the ACUPCC network!

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