Submitted on May 14, 2010; last updated on May 14, 2010
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GW will first reduce its GHG emissions 40 percent by 2025 by reducing energy consumption, using its campus as a laboratory for low-carbon energy generation technologies and partnering with other players that impact its emissions, such as its utility suppliers. GW plans to meet the ACUPCC net-zero emissions commitment by FY 2040 by reducing emissions across all scopes by 80 percent and purchasing credible offsets for its remaining emissions. By 2025 GW targets use of on-site low-carbon energy technologies to reduce at least 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e) of GHG emissions. Then, by 2040 the University aims to produce 10% of its energy from on-site low-carbon technologies.
The Climate Action Plan contains recommendations for ensuring climate neutrality and sustainability are part of the educational experience at GW:
1) Have Every College, School, Department, and Program Examine its Curriculum and Identify Where an Expanded Focus on Sustainability Is Appropriate
2) Connect with the Universitys Urban Community Through Applied Sustainability Education, Including Service Learning and Applied Class Projects
GW plans to foster interdisciplinary sustainability through research and teaching collaboration and communication across disciplines. In addition, the university has several institutes focused on sustainability and a catalog of ongoing research efforts and available coursework in sustainability. These Institutes, projects, and courses are listed in one of the Climate Action Plan's appendices.
The universitys communications efforts for the Climate Action Plan will support GWs goal to become carbon neutral by encouraging behavior change and awareness among members of its community. The university first commits to transparency to provide the GW community with insight into sustainability practices, progress and achievements. Second, GW aims to inspire more participation from its students, faculty and staff through their involvement in residence halls, classrooms, and offices. Third, GW commits to leveraging communication channels to celebrate achievements to help increase awareness of the universitys progress.
While behavior change is necessary to help GW achieve carbon neutrality, it would be naïve to assume that focusing only on small, individual actions will help the university achieve its goals. The intent is to communicate institutional changes as well as to engage the GW community. While energy conservation and the strategies to achieve carbon neutrality range from the visible to the invisible and the exciting to the mundane, they are all part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the universitys carbon footprint.
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