The University of Alaska Fairbanks is forming a Climate Action Plan in an effort to chop its carbon footprint. CCHRC listened in on a webinar Friday to see what it was all about. The session focused on how to inventory your emissions, calculate your footprint, set concrete goals to reduce it, and track your progress.
The UAF Office of Sustainability has partnered with Clean Air-Cool Planet, a group that helps business and campuses tackle their emissions. The group spoke to department leaders and students about building a Climate Action Plan that fits the UAF campus—for example, one that can account for unique circumstances like an on-campus coal plant and high travel expenses.
The group highlighted the benefits of this calculation; not only does it make campus more sustainable but it can also save money and attract students and grant funding. The process would also paint a clear picture of where your emissions are coming from—heat, transportation, agriculture, waste?
First you have to decide on the scope of the plan. Do you count only direct emissions, from fuel combustion and fleet vehicles, or also include indirect emissions like purchased electricity, business travel, wastewater disposal, and so on? Do you include every department and group on campus, which could take forever, or stick to a smaller core?
Then you form your plan of attack–will you convert vehicles to biodiesel, add geothermal heating in dorms, ramp up the recycling program?
UAF wants to have a plan ready by September 1. There are 667 universities that have signed on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, an agreement to work toward climate neutrality, including the University of Alaska Anchorage.