Meredith Moore and Tyler Swanson of iSEE met with Alicia Freter of the ACES Study Abroad office on August 31st to discuss options for developing a carbon offset program for students studying abroad in the college of ACES.
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Key Objective: 8.3 Develop Local/Regional Mission-Linked Offsets
The 2015 iCAP, chapter 8, objective 3 is, "By the end of FY18, develop a program of local or regional mission-linked verified carbon offsets, so that our purchases of offsets will also support our institutional missions."
Rather than relying exclusively on the purchase of carbon offsets from international markets, where the effect of the purchase can be somewhat intangible, the campus could develop local community offsets that are linked to our institutional missions. Such a program is being considered by Cornell University as part of their effort to accelerate their carbon neutrality goal to 2035. Cornell has suggested that options for local offsets could include energy efficiency renovations in low-income and rental properties, fuel switching to renewables such as biomass pellets for farms and rural homes, improving soil carbon storage in agricultural soils, and reducing methane sources in agricultural industries. Developing a program for such community offsets would require extensive planning, but it should be possible to complete this by the end of FY18. The program could be developed by iSEE in collaboration with Extension and community partners, and could leverage the efforts underway at Cornell.