Submitted on November 18, 2010; last updated on November 18, 2010
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Final Conclusions of the WWU Climate Action Plan
The Plan concludes that the University may take the following actions to reach climate neutrality:
• Commit to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to 36% below 2005 levels by 2020. This report demonstrates that this target can be met through execution of identified on-campus projects and, if necessary, University-sponsored carbon reduction and sequestration projects. This goal will also allow us to meet the state mandated greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets (RCW 70.235) well within the required timelines.
• Commit to long-term climate neutrality by researching system-wide opportunities for energy conservation and efficiency. Through behavior change programs such as the “10 X 12” Program and potential infrastructure changes outlined in Energy Savings Company (ESCO) projects, we forecast a climate neutral campus by 2050. Student leadership in the area of renewable energy has already demonstrated a high level of support for measures to reach this goal.
• Provide a model to the campus to incorporate greenhouse gas reduction criteria and sustainability into the institutional decision-making process. This model behavior can help guide decision making by every member of the campus community: administrators, faculty, staff, students and contractors.
• Support the continuation of the WWUCAP and sustainability initiatives. Allocate resources for permanent sustainability staff roles and incorporate greenhouse gas reduction criteria and reporting into their mandates. Create CAP Implementation Team to research reduction opportunities and funding opportunities; report progress to the WWU Board of Trustees on a cyclical basis.
The CAP recommends that the university’s academic curriculum needs to demonstrate a more serious commitment to addressing climate change. Initiatives taken by the AS Sustainability groups (WWU Sustainability Efforts, 2009) can help jump start student-¬led courses at the grassroots level. Support for faculty initiatives for sustainability education such as the Sustainability Academy and the Sustainability Education for New Teachers programs should continue. Support for administration initiatives for sustainability education such as the Sustainability Institute should continue and grow. Additionally, the Academic Coordinating Council, the representative body of the university faculty with influence over academic matters, can create a core curriculum focused on climate change. At the least, it should create a “flexible course module” on climate change that all faculty could integrate into relevant existing course offerings.
The CAP recommends WWU work with administrators at other schools and Western Washington University Office of the President to lobby the state legislature to address energy-efficiency funding obstacles. Although this may the most difficult recommendation to implement, it may also be one of the most important since funding is probably the most important institutional barrier to emission reduction projects. Western Washington University should work with other Washington schools to push funding reform on two fronts:
• Increase initial funding for energy efficiency projects (i.e. upper-tier LEED buildings) based on long-term reductions in operating costs.
• Ensure savings resulting from change in project scope stay with Western Washington University to fund energy efficiency components that may have been removed during value ¬engineering.
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