Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Global problem: The science behind climate change is unimpeachable: our atmosphere currently contains 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and to return to the safe zone we need to 350 parts per million. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, disease-ridden mosquitoes are spreading to more places, and drought is becoming more prevalent.
350 Science

Local solution: Renewable and efficient energy use will decrease the amount of fossil fuels being burned, thereby reducing the CO2 being released into the atmosphere. Mac has invested in energy efficiency in all of its buildings, specifically with an energy re-commissioning of all of its main buildings in 2010. Xcel Energy and on-campus initiatives both contribute to Macalester’s efforts to support renewable energy.

How we’re doing: With the Carbon Neutral by 2025 initiative, Mac continues to be proactive about climate change from multiple angles. We’ve already decreased our carbon emissions by 12 percent from baseline levels. New campus construction holds sustainability and energy efficiency as high priorities, and professors are working to incorporate a commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation into the educational realm.

Participation in the UN Climate Negotiations:  In early 2014, Macalester received observer status at the UN Climate Negotiations process (UNFCCC). In June 2014, Sustainability Manager Suzanne Savanick Hansen and student Zhe Yu Lee'15 went on a scouting trip to Bonn where a mid-year negotiating session took place. We are in the process of identifying opportunities and possible collaborations with other Minnesota colleges to effectively participate in this process up till the Paris conference in December 2015, when the international community aims to agree to a post-2020 comprehensive global deal. We will be provide updates on this page.
June 2014 Bonn Negotiations Report