This study analyzes the effect that temperature intensity versus political environment has on higher education institutions’ tendency to implement sustainability policies, conduct a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, commit to a measurable reduction in GHG emissions, and realize actual reductions. The data used in this article comes from responses to four questions in the “College Sustainability Report Card 2010” selected to illustrate the differences between policy making and actions taken by colleges and universities in regard to their GHG emissions. All surveyed U.S. schools responding Yes or No to any of the four questions were included; Canadian schools in the survey were excluded. The authors recalculated heating and cooling degree days using the methodology described in the Report Card survey instructions because the respondent-supplied data appeared faulty. Asking respondents to supply this data was a flaw in the Report Card methodology.
The results of our analysis indicate that schools with a sustainability policy and GHG emissions inventory tend to be located in areas with a milder climate, whereas schools that have committed to and realized GHG emissions reductions tend to be located in harsher climates, implying that the economic benefits of reducing GHG emissions is a motivating factor. The analysis is limited because the Report Card is not representative of all academic institutions in the U.S., and the reliability of the self-reported data is questionable. Further study might expand this dataset to include all U.S. higher education institutions. Our study does not take into account any energy cost data which may provide a more solid foundation for understanding the link between temperature intensity, sustainability policies, and the GHG emission reduction plans of colleges and universities.
|Keywords:||University Assessments, Sustainability, Environmental Policies, Climate|
Director of Operations/Graduate Academic Advisor, Fort Worth Center, The University of Texas at Arlington, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Director of Downtown Development/TIF District, The University of Texas at Arlington, Fort Worth, TX, USA
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