Skidmore College's Climate Action Contribution
About Skidmore College's Climate Efforts
Climate Action Commitments
Current Climate Actions Skidmore College Is Taking:
Commit to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutant Emissions
Short-lived climate pollutants—such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons—are powerful climate warmers many times more potent than CO2 over their lifetimes. Because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, actions to reduce these super pollutants can have substantial, near-term climate, agricultural and health benefits and are an essential complement to CO2 reduction strategies. Policy-makers can announce regulatory or voluntary approaches to drastically reduce SLCPs, such as developing methane strategies or adopting rules on use of warming HFCs. Organizations can commit to engage with suppliers to provide training, conduct pollutant inventories, and establish systems for tracking, measuring, and monitoring these types of emissions. Analysis shows that SLCP emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent by 2030.
Policymakers, companies and organizations are encouraged to accept the #SLCPChallenge of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which calls for ambitious action on SLCPs. Feel free to elaborate on your work towards reduction, along with your other efforts, in the "Other Commitments" field below.
Commit to Responsible Engagement in Climate Policy
While individual organization action is necessary, local and federal government action is also needed to reach global climate goals. Your organization can have a critical voice in advancing public policy. A commitment to responsible engagement in climate policy means that your organization commits to supporting public policy to: promote energy efficiency and renewable energy; increase investment in a clean energy economy; support climate change adaptation, or put a price on carbon.
Commit to Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Transportation
Organizations making a commitment to reduce the climate impact of transportation should consider practices such as measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and setting reduction targets, switching fuels, optimizing the efficiency of shipping operations, and reducing transit- and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can develop a green transportation action plan to map the movement of goods to market and identify opportunities to increase efficiency. Organizations can buy hybrid and electric vehicles within their own fleet, and can reduce the footprint of their workforce through incentivizing public transportation, installing EV charging stations, promoting telework, and locating near transit centers.
Commit to Increase Your Use of Renewable Power
Increasing your percentage of renewable energy sources is a key component of reducing overall GHG emissions. Installing onsite renewable generation, like solar panels, is a good long-term strategy if possible. But renewable energy can also be procured through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable power purchasing agreements (PPAs), and in some locations from retail electricity providers or local utilities that offers a high percentage of renewable power. Also consider becoming an EPA Green Power Partner.
Commit to Managing Campus Landholdings as a Carbon Sink
Using proper verification protocols, campuses can use landholdings to sequester carbon. In the cases of large university landholders, this can provide significant “negative carbon emissions” if properly managed. This strategy could be cross-sectorally combined with a public land protection strategy.
Invest Endowment Funds in Clean Energy and Technology Solutions
Aligning college or university investments that are aligned with both the mission of the university and climate solutions can create significant win-win-win opportunities. Funding emerging innovations in clean energy through dedicating part of the investment portfolio can create new markets for climate solutions, help campuses meet socially-responsible climate targets through new products and services that reduce carbon emissions, and provide strong financial returns to meet fiduciary responsibility.
Revise your Institution’s Climate Action Plan to Align with Other Sectors’ Climate Goals
Many campus climate action plans have not been updated in nearly a decade and much in the world has changed since they were first created. Build off of existing examples of climate action plans within the private sector, and/or look at local, city, state, regional, or international examples to allign or exceed your climate goals with new updates. These revisions could also be done in conjunction with a cross-sector forum.
Sign one of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments
President’s Climate Leadership Commitments are signed by Higher Education presidents and chancellors. They can sign either the Carbon or the Resilience Commitment, or the integrated Climate Commitment. The commitments require strong leadership to create a implementation structures on campuses, complete GHG inventories, develop climate action plans and consistently report on progress.