University of Idaho’s Climate Action Plan Envisions a Sustainable Campus Community

Tuesday, January 26 2010

Written by Joe Nickels

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho Sustainability Center has released a Climate Action Plan, the first step in a long-term, comprehensive strategy to make the University of Idaho a zero-emissions campus by 2030.

The Climate Action Plan is a framework for both immediate and long-term action.

“It is up to our generation to initiate the social, economic and environmental efforts needed now to reduce the effects of climate change and mitigate its future impact,” said University of Idaho president M. Duane Nellis, in a letter earlier this month introducing the CAP.

The CAP completes the first phase – assessment and planning – of the university’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“This project began with a complete greenhouse gas emissions inventory for every building and person on campus,” said Darin Saul, director of the university’s Sustainability Center. “The strategies and concepts contained in the CAP have been three years in the making.”

The University of Idaho began its commitment to climate neutrality by signing the Talloires Declaration in 2005, and joining the Chicago Climate Exchange and American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007. The Talloires Declaration and ACUPCC both call for the higher education community to provide leadership in addressing climate change.

To comply with ACUPCC, the university’s Energy/Greenhouse Gas working group set 2030 as the target date for climate neutrality, with the following intermediate goals: 25 percent reduction in emissions by 2012, 50 percent reduction by 2016, and 82 percent reduction by 2023. The Climate Action Plan lays out a framework for achieving these goals.

Although these commitments were made by his predecessors, Nellis supports the vision of a sustainable University of Idaho.

“If we take action now, we will have a greater chance to mitigate the impact of global climate change than if we take a 'business as usual' attitude,” Nellis wrote. “The University of Idaho is committed to blazing a path of action and serving as a model for other colleges and universities, and the rest of society...”

The full text of the CAP is available on the Sustainability Center Web site, The ACUPCC text is available at, and the
Talloires text is online at

As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek carbon reduction initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. The University of Idaho emitted 38,981 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2007, which equals 3.59 tons per student. The university has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and has begun the work to reduce carbon emissions across operations. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit