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Dickinson to Durban » Summer Reading Responses » Something we can all learn from college students…

Something we can all learn from college students…

In 2007, Dickinson College’s President William G. Durden signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).  Over 670 colleges and universities throughout the nation have committed to significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions; Dickinson College’s agreement entails climate neutrality by the year 2020.  In an attempt to reach this goal, Dickinson College produced a detailed climate action plan (CAP) for exactly how to implement sustainable changes to Dickinson’s daily functioning.  By following the implementations of this CAP, Dickinson hopes to reach net zero emissions by 2020.  Sawin and Moomaw (2009) have a similar idea for international climate negotiations.  What if a custom global climate action plan was assembled and implemented by instigating CAPs for individual country emissions?

Sawin and Moomaw, 2009

Sawin and Moomaw compiled a promise for energy efficiency based on sectors of the economy, sustainable practices, and environmental history in developing and developed countries correspondingly.  Through implementing a set of commitments fit for an individual country’s economic standing, each country can provide equal contributions to climate negotiations, based on a fairer, per capita basis.  A modified climate action plan will work with countries to devise climate legislation better suited for their own needs, economy, and resources.

Applying a climate action plan to climate negotiations is something that I find somewhat similar to implementing a CAP on a college campus.  Dickinson breaks up their carbon emissions into categories: purchased electricity, on-campus fuel combustion, transportation, and offsets.  Strategies for how to reduce or eliminate emissions in these areas are provided for each category.  This is similar to Sawin and Moomaw’s report in terms of the focus on each individual country’s potential for emission reductions.  Strategies for implementing

Dickinson College CAP

increased solar production in India, green buildings in Berlin, and geothermal power plants in Iceland are all examples of how countries can work with their land capacity, economic standing, and natural resources to form customized climate action plans, and ultimately a comprehensive international climate policy.

Colleges and universities throughout the United States are working together to commit to action against climate change.  The implementation of climate action plans is significantly reducing these institutions’ impact on climate change.  Is there something we can learn from college students?

Works Cited:

Sawin & Moomaw. 2009. Renewable revolution: low-carbon energy by 2030. Worldwatch Institute.

Dickinson College Climate Action Plan. 2009. Climate Change Action Plan Working Group.

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One Response to "Something we can all learn from college students…"

  1. Maggie Rees says:

    After further class discussion and research, I stand corrected. William Moomaw from Tufts University took part in the ideas behind the ACUPCC. Moomaw’s research and ideas, including those in the Worldwatch Institute research, were the foundations that formed the ACUPCC. Thus, the ideas originated with global climate negotiations in mind and were transformed to fit sustainability commitments on college campuses.

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