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RMI Publishes Campus Climate Book

Book reviews obstacles to mitigating climate change on college campuses
By Molly Miller

Two years of RMI research on efforts to reduce carbon emissions on college campuses recently culminated in the release of a new book, "Accelerating Campus Climate Initiatives: Breaking Through Barriers."

Developed in collaboration with Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (www.aashe.org), the book describes a wide array of challenges and barriers to campus climate mitigation efforts.

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Intended for campus sustainability directors, CFOs, presidents, students, faculty and staff, the book details obstacles such as insufficient capital, lack of public transit and lack of expertise. Also included are  perceived barriers such as the high cost of green buildings.

All told, dozens of barriers and solutions are described with examples, case stories and the resources needed to help overcome them.

RMI’s Michael Kinsley led the cross-team effort at RMI, which included campus visits and a workshop. “Rather than focusing on greenhouse gas emissions building by building, this project takes a broader look at the campus as a system that can mitigate climate change holistically,” Kinsley said. 

RMI staff members visited twelve campuses across the country for two days each to directly understand specific campus climate initiatives and challenges. Following the campus visits, representatives from the campuses, and collaborators from AASHE, Second Nature, and the National Wildlife Federation came to Denver for a summer workshop to help define challenges and solutions to implementing campus climate mitigation programs. From the workshop emerged specific projects for accelerating climate work at each of the twelve schools.

As college and university campuses nationwide carry out their missions to reduce their carbon footprints—to retrofit their buildings for energy efficiency, employ alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, offset emissions, and install renewable energy—they can now turn to this reference.

Download the book for free at www.rmi.org/rmi/Campuses.

Molly Miller is a Communications Specialist at RMI.

--Published February 2010


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