By adopting the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, campus leaders are agreeing to immediately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Since it’s unrealistic for colleges now to promise ceasing all harmful gas production in the future without knowing what technologies will exist in 10 or 20 years, the short-term goal of the initiative is climate neutrality, which means having no net emissions. In other words, colleges could choose to offset any carbon production by purchasing renewable energy sources or credits.
To decrease energy consumption and work toward carbon neutrality, the commitment says colleges should take at least two of five listed actions:
Adopt green standards for buildings.
Require Energy Star certification for products produced by the university.
Reduce air travel or offset emissions by investing in renewable energy sources (wind power, for example.)
Encourage public transportation.
Purchase energy from renewable sources and support climate shareholder proposals through their endowment.
While the current roster of signatures lists Madison Area Technical College and six of the UW system campuses UW-Madison is still absent.
American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education