November 25, 2008

Cornell Seeks Ideas in Move Towards Campus Carbon Neutrality

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Moving ahead in its endeavor to achieve climate neutrality, Cornell is taking initial steps towards developing its Climate Action Plan. The Idea Exchange is soliciting all members of the community to speak their mind and contribute ideas about what it will take to make Cornell climate neutral through Monday.
To date, 567 ideas have been submitted on the Idea Exchange website. According to the Climate Action Plan staff, ideas are grouped into “major themes” that include green development, energy conservation, biofuels and renewable energy, carbon offsets and policy. According to the staff, “No idea is too big or small” to be submitted on the site.
Currently, 174 contributed ideas have dealt with energy conservation. One idea involved turning off athletic field lights when they are not in use. Another contributor said Cornell should develop a “cross-disciplinary Ph.D. program on energy engineering/management via the [College] of Engineering or [Johnson Graduate School of] Management.”
With the help of a $425,000 grant from the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority announced on Sept. 14, the President’s Climate Commitment Implementation Committee will be sorting through the ideas and working towards drafting a plan by next September. For assistance, Cornell has hired consultants from Affiliate Engineers Inc. to oversee its progress.
In September, the University released its greenhouse gas inventory, which was one of the first steps outlined in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The report announced that Cornell’s Ithaca campus accounts for 319,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. According to Cornell Sustainable Campus, these emissions are equal to 6,000 truckloads of coal. The University has been tracking its greenhouse gas emissions since 1998.
Community members are encouraged to visit http://www.sustainable­ to submit ideas.