Green initiatives underway

Queen's sustainability manager says the University is fighting climate change

Re: “Queen’s at climate crossroads” (Oct. 25, 2011).

Dear Editors,

In February 2010, Principal Woolf signed the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada. This pledge commits the university to engaging in several activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhancing research and curriculum in the areas of climate change and sustainability.

Some activities are already underway, including conducting GHG emission inventories (2008, 2009, 2010 – in progress), creating a multi-stakeholder planning body (Queen’s Sustainability Advisory Committee) and implementing select projects to reduce emissions (electric vehicles, lights-off stickers, etc.). However, the heart of the pledge involves developing a comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The Queen’s CAP is moving forward. Six consulting firms responded to an initial request for proposals in June, 2011. The evaluation team including members from the Queen’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, Physical Plant Services and the Sustainability Office evaluated the proposals this summer. They calculated a total cumulative score based on the initial evaluation of the responses, an interview and a scoring of price proposals. Queen’s is currently negotiating a contract with the leading firm.

The firm will work closely with the Queen’s community to create a CAP by the spring of 2012 with the core elements listed below.

The firm will work closely with the Queen’s community to create a CAP by the spring of 2012 with the following core elements:

• A summary of the current campus GHG inventory.

• GHG emission projections, incorporating planned growth, ‘business as usual’ and mitigation scenarios.

• Academic, research, and operations climate action goals including target dates for achievement.

• Detailed strategies and actions to make climate change a part of the curriculum, expand university research on climate change and reduce the university’s GHG emissions.

• Mechanisms to track progress on goals and actions.

• Mechanisms to implement and integrate the CAP within the university including funding strategies.

The process for developing the CAP will involve significant collaboration with the campus community. A multi-stakeholder working group including students, staff and faculty will provide the primary connection between the consulting firm and the university. In addition town hall meetings and web interfaces will provide opportunities to reach more broadly across the campus, soliciting ideas and feedback about the plan’s development.

Aaron Ball,
Queen’s Sustainability Manager

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