Bearcat Carbon Offset
What is the "Bearcatt Carbon Offset?"
As part of our campus wide efforts to meet the University’s goals under the American University President’s Climate Change Commitment http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org) signed by Former President Pelton in 2008, purchasers of Willamette University parking permits may purchase a carbon offset reflecting the miles they drive in their vehicles to and from work.
A carbon offset is an affordable means by which individuals, corporations, or governments can counteract or “offset” unavoidable carbon emissions resulting from necessary activities. Say, for instance, the carbon emitted during electrical generation for one’s household consumption. For most of us, even after significant improvements in household energy efficiency (say, through purchasing of Energy Star (http://www.energystar.gov/) rated appliances, installing high efficiency heating systems, and most importantly, changing our own behavior), we will still be responsible for some greenhouse gas production resulting from the energy generated to run our lights, heat our water, and cook our meals.
For that inevitable carbon footprint, we can purchase an offset for, say the 8 metric tons we each on average produce via home energy consumption, transportation, and waste generation (http:// www.whatsmycarbonfootprint.com/faq.htm). Purchased offsets typically fund projects or activities that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere—say, by constructing carbon free energy sources like a wind turbine, or sequestering carbon by planting trees which will “spunge up” carbon from the atmosphere. To learn more about carbon offsets generally, various sectors of offsets, and some issues regarding their utility, see http://www.co2offsetresearch.org/.
Can I Afford This?
Yes! You can! This is an affordable way to go green and help your local community! A Bearcat Carbon Offset for someone within the City of Salem would typically range somewhere between $3-$10 annually and is determined by a calculator when you sign up online for your parking permit.
Your Bearcat Carbon Offset
Unlike most other carbon offsets which fund carbon reduction efforts elsewhere—often in other countries—your Bearcat Carbon Offset (BCO) goes directly to fund carbon reduction and energy efficiency projects on campus that are actual, additional, and verifiable.
75% of your BCO will go towards funding energy efficiency and green energy projects on campus, such as LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and solar thermal hot water production.
25% of your BCO will fund efficiency, green energy, and carbon mitigation/sequestration activities at Willamette University’s Zena Forest. This could include biodiesel conversion and production for equipment, wetland restoration, photovoltaic arrays, and construction of a wind turbine.
Willamette University Parking Permit Page
We thank you for your interest in BCO, and for your commitment to sustainability. To find out more about what Willamette is doing regarding climate change and sustainability, check out the rest of the Sustainability Council and Center for Sustainable Communities websites.