UC Sustainability

UC Sustainability

Carbon Inventory & Climate Action Plan

As part of the University of Cincinnati's obligations upon signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), within one year of signing, the University had to complete a comprehensive carbon inventory to determine its environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.  A year later UC had to complete a climate action plan, detailing how the school was going to reduce its carbon footprint.

UC’s Carbon Inventory

UC’s original carbon inventory was completed on September 15, 2008 for the Uptown Campus.  A second carbon inventory for the Uptown Campus was completed on September 15, 2010.  The carbon footprint will continue to be calculated every two years.  The carbon footprints of UC's other campuses will be calculated separately.  

The University of Cincinnati used the Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) calculator, a standard among members of the ACUPCC, to determine its environmental impact in CO2 equivalent.  

UC’s Climate Action Plan

The University of Cincinnati completed its Climate Action Plan on September 15, 2009.  The comprehensive document includes an in-depth study of the University's carbon inventory and existing practices in categories such as transporation, buildings, energy, education, outreach, etc.  The Climate Action Plan then details possible solutions to making the University more sustainable.

The Climate Action Plan included contributions from many individuals and offices on campus and was compiled and written by the President's Advisory Council on Environment & Sustainability (PACES).  

Currently, UC is in the process of writing its new Climate Action Plan.

Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse Gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane, are transparent to the Sun's incoming shortwave radiation, but aborbent of the Earth's outgoing longwave radiation, and therefor trap heat in the atmosphere. Greenhouse Gases are critical to the habitability of Earth, but since the dawn of the industrial revolution, their abundance has increased anthropogenically due to the burning of fossil fuels, which is contributing to climate change. 

We measure greenhouse gas emissions using three different scopes:

  • Scope 1 GHG emissions are focused on the emissions that are directly under the control of the University's administration.
  • Scope 2 GHG emissions are indirectly under the control of the University's administrative departments through purchase agreements.
  • Scope 3 GHG emissions are instrinsic to the functioning of the University but are not under the control of the University's administrative departments.