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U joins organization to reduce, trade greenhouse gas emissions

Published on December 17, 2004

The University of Minnesota has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a voluntary, legally binding pilot program for reducing and trading greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The University is the fourth educational institution and the largest public research university to join CCX. The action places the University in a small but growing group of organizations committed to the development of a rules-based North American greenhouse gas emission reduction program.

Members with direct emissions have agreed to reduce their emissions by four percent below the average of their 1998-2001 baseline by 2006, the last year of the pilot program. Members that make further reductions can be compensated by selling reduction credits to members for which a four percent reduction would be technically or economically difficult. Greenhouse gases covered by the agreement are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.

"The University of Minnesota has a history of commitment to sustainability. Becoming part of the Chicago Climate Exchange means that we can be part of an innovative, powerful movement toward reducing greenhouse emissions," said University President Bob Bruininks. "This is a win-win-win situation--for the state of Minnesota, for the University of Minnesota, and for the environment. If we exceed our goal, we will be compensated for our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases at the market price for the tons of carbon dioxide we don't emit."

In July, 2004, the University's Board of Regents adopted a Sustainability and Energy Efficiency policy, which commits the University to strive to be "a world leader by promoting and demonstrating sustainability and energy efficiency." The policy notes that sustainability requires collective action by the University community and directs that efforts be guided by "the balanced use of all resources, within budgetary constraints."

Bruininks has made the environment and renewable energy a key University-wide interdisciplinary priority, one that involves new, environmentally friendly technologies developed in its labs as well as green practices in its management and operations.

"I'm particularly proud, as a graduate, that the University is taking a leadership role in sustainability," said Richard Sandor, chair and CEO of CCX. He received a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1967.

CCX's 70-plus members include Dow Corning, Dupont, Ford Motor Co., IBM, the universities of Iowa and Oklahoma, and International Paper.

For more on CCX go to CCX. For more on sustainability programs at the University of Minnesota, go to Sustainability.

From the University News Service

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