News Feb 21, 2007
CU-Boulder Embarks On Ambitious Plan To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In a move to reduce campus energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson on Thursday will announce his signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
Peterson will disclose the details of the commitment and CU-Boulder's sweeping new environmental initiative during opening remarks at the 2007 Rocky Mountain Sustainability Summit, a national environmental gathering that will take place on the campus Feb. 22-23. The event is coordinated by the CU Environmental Center and is sponsored by numerous regional and national organizations.
With the pledge, CU-Boulder joins 74 other U.S. colleges and universities that have committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases through short- and long-term initiatives. The pact's goal is for campuses to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the 21st century and to support the longer-range objective of "climate neutrality" or zero net greenhouse gas emissions.
"There is a spirit of innovation and resolve overtaking the nation that we can and must achieve energy independence and environmental sustainability in this century," Peterson said. "By signing this commitment, CU-Boulder takes the lead on creating a more efficient, environmentally aware campus and rises to the challenge of supporting an entire community with an increased awareness of the part we all play in creating a more sustainable world."
CU-Boulder's sustainability plan calls for an immediate, detailed inventory of its current carbon emissions and - within the next two years - an outline of practical strategies that will help the university reach its goals.
At the summit, Peterson will announce plans to earmark $250,000 annually starting this fiscal year for projects aimed at reducing campus energy use, especially electrical consumption. In the near future, the university may seek new funds or a reallocation of a portion of these funds for renewable energy production systems on properties on or close to the CU-Boulder campus.
The chancellor plans to ask that future funding be considered to pursue options to reduce CU-Boulder's greenhouse gas emissions even further. To offset the university's output of carbon emissions in the short run, Peterson will explain how CU-Boulder will commit to spending an additional $50,000 per year for the purchase of renewable wind energy.
In addition to these steps, the chancellor will announce the formation of the Chancellor's Committee on Energy, Environment and Sustainability, or CCEES, a working group to be led by CU-Boulder Vice Chancellor for Administration Paul Tabolt. In his new role, Tabolt will be charged with setting sustainability goals for the campus and advising the university on all environmental matters.
In recognition of the shared fortunes of CU-Boulder and the city of Boulder, Peterson already has asked Boulder Mayor Mark Ruzzin and City Manager Frank Bruno to appoint a city representative to serve as a permanent member of the committee, a move that marks a new sustainability partnership in the area.
"We already have an excellent record when it comes to improving energy efficiency, and have implemented many cost-cutting and resource-saving strategies over the past several years," Tabolt said. "But this commitment takes us to a new level of awareness that will set the standard for Colorado campuses and, we hope, inspire others to follow our lead."
The 2007 Rocky Mountain Sustainability Summit will take place at CU-Boulder's University Memorial Center. Speakers of note include former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart, the Wirth Chair Professor at the CU-Denver and Health Sciences Center; Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson; renowned environmental experts Hunter Lovins and David Orr; CU-Boulder history and environmental studies Professor Patty Limerick; and Arizona State University President Michael Crow.
For more information about the summit, visit ecenter.colorado.edu/rmss2007/. To learn more about the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, go to www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.
Contact: Paul Tabolt, (303) 492-7523 Bronson Hilliard, (303) 735-6183
News Source: CU-Boulder News Center
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