Carbon pricing is a system that requires polluters to pay when they emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. By phasing in carbon pricing at UB, we make ourselves accountable, operationally and financially, for the adverse impact we have every day to our climate. There’s nothing like economic incentive to motivate change.
Phase I (2020): Establish a university-wide task force to determine viable carbon pricing frameworks, models and options
Phase II (2022): Rollout of reverse budgeting and carbon pricing allocated at the unit level corresponding to buildings
Phase III (2024): Carbon pricing tied to directly financed travel (scope 1 and 3) including, Stampede, university-funded air travel
Phase IV (2025): Carbon fee levied on non-green commuting which will be invested in localized offset program
Phase V (2026): Food and materials
Numerous financial policies will be developed and presented to the university for adoption by this working group. Regulations promulgated under the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act will help form additional internal policies.
UB also wants to make the campus aware that, as part of the pre-approval process for traveling, individuals will now be asked to certify they are mindful of the university’s goal of achieving climate neutrality and its 10 in 10-climate action strategy — a roadmap toward net zero emissions by 2030.
One of those key 10 strategies is focused on pricing carbon and working to factor in the cost of emissions across the university.
“The strategy we’re really putting forth right now is awareness — just getting the campus community aware that when we travel that has carbon emissions,” says Beth Corry, university controller and associate vice president for business services, who leads the pricing carbon work at UB. “Then, we can over time determine how we work to mitigate those emissions."
The committee met with Second Nature and the Smith College to discuss various carbon pricing methodologies. Using baseline assessments and case studies as foundational knowledge, the committee moved to expand its current understanding of carbon pricing.
The committee collaborated with the Graduate School of Architecture and the Department of Environment and Sustainability in the College of Arts and Sciences to have students research pricing frameworks in the Spring 2021 semester. Their research provided insights on case study comparisons, cost-benefit analysis, and legislative challenges. In the next year, the committee will be rolling out a reverse budgeting option and imposing carbon pricing at a unit building level.
The Spring 2021 class of Sustainable Practices Seminar had two teams of students work with the Carbon Pricing and Carbon Offset committees of UB's Climate Action Plan. This is their final presentations to those committees.
Captain: Beth Corry, associate vice president for Business Services
Ashley Butcher, Senior Staff Assistant, Financial Management
Peter DiNunzio, Resource Analyst, Resource Planning,
Michael Shelly, Research Assistant Professor, RENEW Institute
Brandon Szerwo, Assistant Professor, Accounting