More and more centers of higher education are embracing renewable energy and environmental commitments in one form or another. One of the latest pan-institutional efforts is the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The ACUPCC, with 593 signatories to date, provides a framework for institutions who become signatories of the commitment to both reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and raise awareness of their sustainability efforts.
In order to provide "clear, rigorous standards" for institutions wanting to offset their carbon emissions, the ACUPCC has release a new Carbon Offset Protocol. Here are the details:Offsets Should be Real and Tangible, More
According to ACUPCC, this is what constitutes a "high-quality" offset,
Emissions reductions should be: real and tangible; transparent; measurable ; permanent; verified; synchronous; registered; and retired. They should account for leakage, and should not be double-counted. Projects should also have other social and environmental co-benefits in addition to reducing emissions. and add value to the education, research and service missions of higher education.
Avoidance Doesn't Count
Furthermore, projects which result in the avoidance of emissions would not be considered valid under this protocol. For example,
...fuel switching programs that replace oil-fired boilers with biomass result in a reduction of existing emissions. Building a wind farm, rather than a planned coal plant, in order to meet new demand and avoid expected future growth of emissions would not be a valid source of offsets under the new Protocol.
For a full breakdown of the Protocol, download: Investing in Carbon Offsets - Guidelines for ACUPCC Institutions
More at: American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment
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