Duke Issues Local Offsets Report
By Tavey M. Capps, Environmental Sustainability Director
Duke University's Sustainability Office and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions recently issued a report that examines the potential role of local carbon offsets in meeting the University's commitment to become a carbon neutral campus. As part of the strategy for climate neutrality this study examines options for Duke to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions outside of its direct carbon footprint. After implementing aggressive on-campus carbon reduction strategies, such reductions may be a necessary component of a voluntary commitment to carbon neutrality
The report is the culmination of an interdisciplinary, graduate-level research seminar to measure demand for offsets at Duke, and additional research undertaken at Duke's Nicholas Institute. The report's authors, Eben Polk (Associate, Nicholas Institute) and Andrés Potes (MEM ‘08) examine political and economic trends surrounding carbon offset markets and explore opportunities for Duke to lead through investment in projects such as afforestation, methane capture, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
To date, Duke University has identified the standards and policies that are necessary in developing transparent and credible offset projects that advance the University towards its climate neutrality goals. Duke has examined the potential supply and costs associated with local offsets, as well as offsets supplied through national and international markets. And, the University has considered the various institutional models for engagement in offsets markets. Ultimately, the conclusion has been that North Carolina-sourced GHG offsets are a viable and attractive option for the Duke University climate neutrality strategy.
The outcomes of this work can be found in the offset report, entitled "The Role of Offsets in Meeting Duke University's Commitment to 'Climate Neutrality': A Feasibility Study."
Duke is also hosting an additional opportunity to engage in this discussion with the Duke Environmental Markets Student Group—April 10-11th, 2009—join us for a free, two-day Carbon Offsets Symposium focused on clearing the air on carbon offsets and their role in the voluntary and compliance markets. For more information, visit dukecarbonconference.com.
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