Degrees That Matter: Climate Change and the University

Universities and colleges are in a unique position to take a leadership role on global warming. As communities, they can strategize and organize effective action. As laboratories for learning and centers of research, they can reduce their own emissions of greenhouse gases, educate students about global warming, and direct scholarly attention to issues related to climate change and energy. Degrees That Matter offers practical guidance for those who want to harness the power of universities and other institutions, and provides perspectives on how to motivate change and inspire action within complex organizations. The authors, drawing on almost a decade of experience leading the Tufts Climate Initiative and other institutional greening efforts, provide both the basic facts and more detailed information about climate issues. Some chapters can be used as stand-alone action guides for specific areas, while others put climate action in scientific, economic, and political contexts. The authors discuss the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions on campus and the importance of an emissions inventory for setting goals and strategies. They consider decision making (and decision makers), costs, budgets, and institutional priorities, and describe different emission reduction projects. They look at the importance of master planning for the university and the value of action by individual community members. Finally, they suggest climate action projects for the classroom and offer guidance for tapping student energy. Their aim is to inspire others to take on global warming regardless of organizational setting.