Climate action plan finds consultant

Delphi Group chosen over five other firms to aid with Queen’s carbon emission reduction

Queen's Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball says Queen's climate action plan will be launched in the fall.
Queen's Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball says Queen's climate action plan will be launched in the fall.
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Queen’s has hired a consulting firm to create the University’s climate action plan.

The contract with the Delphi Group, a consultancy firm that focuses on climate change, was announced on Jan. 30.

The action plan is part of the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, which Principal Daniel Woolf signed in February 2010.

Under the action statement, Queen’s pledged to create a summary of the current and projected campus greenhouse gas emissions and to expand research on climate change with a goal of reducing campus emissions.

Queen’s was the second post-secondary school in Ontario to sign the pledge, which was originally signed by six university presidents in British Columbia who decided to create an agreement to signify their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Queen’s Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball said the Delphi Group will work with the University to finish the climate action plan, which is set to be released this fall.

The Delphi Group has done several greenhouse gas emission inventories for companies, including Toronto Hydro.

“There was discussion about trying to do it internally or bringing in a third party,” Ball said. “When it came down to timing and broad expertise that would be needed, we felt going the consulting route would be best.”

“We gathered all the information on our expected growth and they were able to take that and put it into models to give us some preliminary work,” he said.

Ball said the funds used to hire the Delphi Group came from the University’s budget.

“It was a lengthy and exhaustive process where we go out for a public bid and we had six firms respond,” he said.

“Lots of consulting firms do other work as well, but Delphi focuses on [climate change],” he said.

The Delphi Group previously consulted with Queen’s in 2008 and 2009, when the University completed two greenhouse gas emission inventories.

An internal advisory committee consisting of 22 members has also been created to be the University’s representative body while the plan is created.

“There are four students who sit on the committee, and five faculty members and the remaining will be staff,” Ball said.

The committee's first meeting is scheduled for next week.

“We’ve invited members from the city of Kingston and Kingston General Hospital to be part of the group as well,” Ball said. “We share the steam that’s generated at the central heating plant — any project or strategy we consider would affect the hospital.”

Ball added that the internal advisory committee will eventually be broken down into four working groups — greenhouse gas emissions, research and curriculum, communications and implementation.

Creating a climate action plan is the right thing to do for the University, Ball said.

“You read the paper and you read the scientific journals — climate change is real, it is happening and we have to do our part.”

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