UH works to reduce greenhouse emissions
The University of Hawaii-Manoa will join other colleges and universities across the country in surveying all greenhouse gas emissions on the campus and their impacts.
The inventory, recommendations and an action plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at UH will be the first challenge of Manoa's newly appointed Climate Change Commission.
"Our hope is we can be a model and source of leadership for colleges and universities across the nation," said interim Manoa Chancellor Denise Eby Konan.
She said she's looking for resources to support the commission's activities.
At least 70 college presidents are signing a pact with a two-year commitment starting in June to catalog all sources of carbon emissions on their campuses. They will present a timetable to achieve "carbon neutrality."
"Carbon neutrality" involves reducing carbon dioxide emissions with conservation measures, then offsetting carbon emissions with renewable energy sources and projects, such as tree plantings, that remove carbon dioxide from the air.
The 16 UH-Manoa commission members represent expertise in a broad array of university disciplines.
"Hawaii is one of the most vulnerable places on this Earth in terms of impact of climate change," Konan recently noted at the panel's first meeting.
Commission members, getting together for the first time, kicked around ideas and opinions about what they can do to address the problems.
They can do nothing to stop climate change, some scientists said, but greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced.
People are unlikely to change their activities unless there are consequences, and they may not do it anyway, said Richard Rocheleau, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute director.
Stephen Meder, director of the Center for Smart Building and Community Design and assistant professor of architecture, said there may be an opportunity to improve Manoa campus "if we can demonstrate solutions to reduce energy and carbon greenhouse gas emissions."