Carbon offsets.

Leveraging Offsets for Challenging Emissions

Sometimes, it may not be entirely feasible to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, such as in the case of air travel. However, UB has developed localized carbon offset programs aimed at reducing an equivalent amount of carbon emissions, enabling UB to attain carbon neutrality by 2030 by implementing adequate carbon offsets.

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Sub-strategies

  • Phase I (2020): Establish a working group to provide university recommendations on creation of a certified local carbon offset program focused on campus and/or regional impact that will partner with non-governmental organizations, faculty, students and community.
  • Phase II (2023): Develop a menu of options for carbon offset purchases to be used across the campus by 2023.
  • Phase III (2024): Begin implementation of offset program in pilot program phase.
  • Phase IV (2025): Commence purchasing of carbon offsets by the campus community through the program to fill existing campus gap (if needed) to achieve overall GHG reduction to 50%.
  • Phase V (2030): Complete purchasing of carbon offsets by the campus community through the program to fill existing campus gap to achieve 100% GHG reduction and thus obtain net climate neutrality.

Policies

Tactics and strategies continue to be developed under the Offset Network framework from Second Nature.

The Investing Locally to Provide Flexibility committee developed a criteria for the development and procurement of carbon offsets in the future. This criteria has four key determinants: 

Provide feedback

Please fill out the survey below to submit your thoughts on carbon offsets.

Do you have ideas for carbon offset programs?

In order to solicit a locally based set of ideas to improve the campus and surrounding community, as well as further UB’s climate neutrality goals, the ILPF committee developed an RFI for individuals to pitch their carbon offset ideas to the university.  This RFI will ensure that projects have environmental, community and educational benefits. Projects of all scales will be considered that have varying carbon reduction potentials. These ideas will be accepted on a rolling basis and be catalogued to be utilized at a later date when funding becomes available. 

Updates

Fall 2022 - Spring 2023

The University at Buffalo’s carbon offset committee is tasked with exploring, assessing and developing protocol on the use of carbon offsets to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offsets will be used as a temporary bridging strategy for emissions where sustainable technology is not available (like air travel) or where no matter how sustainable our practices get, there will always be emissions (like in our food system).

Even though these offsets are provisional, our procurement and development of them should continue to take into account equity, price, our local region, and our academic mission.

The committee has identified three pathways to pursue carbon offsets:

·         A certified market purchase aligning with key criteria and UB values

·         Investing in a localized offset program with community partners

·         A campus/university experiential offset initiative

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

UB Partners with UCapture

One tool to advance this work is a free web-based platform called UCapture. The UB Carbon Offset Committee investigated this technology over the past months and decided to partner with this program because it empowers the entire UB community- faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to learn about carbon offsets and their role in climate action. 

Sustainable Practices Seminar: Carbon Pricing and Carbon Offsets [1:19:01]

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.

Fall 2022

One tool to advance this work is a free web-based platform called UCapture. The UB Carbon Offset Committee investigated this technology over the past months and decided to partner with this program because it empowers the entire UB community- faculty, staff, students and alumni, to learn about carbon offsets and their role in climate action. 

Spring 2023

In Spring 2023, the committee identified three pathways to pursue carbon offsets:

  1. A certified market purchase aligning with UB values.
  2. Investing in a localized offset program with community partners.
  3. A campus/university experiential offset initiative.

Committee

  • Captain: William McDonnell, associate vice provost for Academic Planning .
  • Susan Clark, Assistant Professor, Environment and Sustainability .
  • Hannah Giarrizzo , Lead Coordinator Community & Civic Engagement, Student Life.
  • Mara Huber, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research - Experiential Learning Network.
  • Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer, UB Sustainability.
  • Derek Nichols, Associate Director for Sustainability, UB Sustainability.
  • Isabel VanPatten, Alum, Carbon Offset Fellow.

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