Connecticut College adopts ambitious emissions reduction target
Connecticut College has adopted an ambitious new goal to achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. On track to meet the previous goal—of 26%—several years ahead of schedule, the College is now raising its sights to align with recommendations in the 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC advocated reducing emissions by 45% over the next 10 years in order to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. The long-term recommendation of the Panel is zero emissions by 2050.
“Connecticut College has a long and distinguished history of commitment to environmental stewardship, and this more ambitious goal redoubles that commitment for the next decade. It is the very least we can do to sustain the planet for future generations,” said President Katherine Bergeron.
As of 2019, the College had already achieved a 16% reduction in emissions from its baseline of 2005. This was achieved through a range of initiatives, from a shift to natural gas in the College's steam plant, to lighting upgrades around campus, to other improvements in mechanical systems. To reach the new goal, the College will undertake a multi-phased process beginning with a Utility Master Plan that will lay out a long-term strategy for transforming energy production and use on campus. This will be followed by a Climate Action Plan, laying out specific projects and a timeline to meet or exceed the 45% goal. Both plans are to be executed in the coming year. The Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with Facilities Management and campus committees on land management and environmental stewardship, will lead the effort.
“Since the adoption of our new Campus Sustainability Plan in 2018, there has been incredible momentum towards implementing sustainability projects on campus,” said Margaret Bounds, assistant director of sustainability at the College. “Our progress in only two years is due to the collaboration of many different offices and departments across campus and we are excited to build on this momentum.”
The new goal was officially approved by the President’s Sustainability Council on April 30, 2020. The Sustainability Council includes faculty and staff from across the College as well as student and alumni representatives.
The student representative on the President's Sustainability Council, Liam Lofgren ’20, expressed his appreciation for the ambitious scope of the new goal and said it reflected the College’s broad commitment to global citizenship.
“I am extremely happy to see the College adopt a 45% carbon emission reduction by 2030 as it marks our continued dedication to creating a sustainable campus,” Lofgren said. “This is a phenomenal decision that will have a lasting impact not just on our campus, but on our global community.”