Location: Sayles Hill, 252

Time: 8:00 a.m.

EAC Members in Attendance: Aaron Swoboda (co-chair), Martha Larson (co-chair), Erica Zweifel, Arjendu Pattanayak, Elliot Hanson, Kate Meyer, and Tamnnet Kidanu.

Guests: Peter Sallinger

Secretary: Beck Woollen


Stewsie Award Voting

  • Google form forthcoming, please fill out and submit by the deadline specified in Martha’s email that will accompany the form.

Northfield Earth Day

  • Information shared with the EAC.

Carbon Offsets

  • Martha: Carleton signed up for community solar as a subscriber. Does not reduce our carbon footprint, but we get $60,000/year to use on offsets. College could consider matching this. Total of $120,000 to spend on offsets that are ≤ $20/ton. Additionally, bonus offsets for slower, harder projects (given different parameters). Each $60,000 gets you half of our scope 3 emissions. The rest are over and above.
  • Aaron: Otherwise, what if we were net-zero? A carbon tax leveraged internally at Carleton could be great PR. Why wouldn’t we be carbon negative?
  • Peter: Something is also to be said for offsets that are at least as expensive as the social cost of carbon. We should be willing to spend more on projects that have real benefits
  • Beck: Carbon tax: where would we apply it?
    • Could be at the annual audit or could be department-by-department.
    • Effectiveness and educational components are both important.
    • Payment out of dept. budget would incentivize people to make changes.
  • Arjendu: Like the gaming of setting a tax on things – makes it explicit but not painful.
  • Aaron: College-level and department-level decisions have been impactful, for example geothermal.
  • Martha: Each division should have its own action and plan that drives change.
  • Erica & Arjendu: Want the carbon offsets and payments to be visible.
  • Beck: Explored a carbon tax for student vehicles.
  • Martha & Kate: department-level management could cause too much burden. Could we assign each Scope 3 category to a single department? (Fac/Staff travel = business office, OCS = off-campus travel, Security = commuting, etc).
  • Peter: Charging departments would incentivize them to reduce.
  • Martha: We could sink the ship if we try to split hairs administratively. The College at large is responsible for broad incentives like pushing EVs; there are burden of labor concerns associated with a department – or individual-level approach.
  • Could departments receive credits for the emissions decreases that they’re already completing?
  • To what extent will tracking carbon at a department level be feasible?
  • Erica: Need to share responsibility and highlight opportunities for education and outreach; people must have responsibility to make the decision.
  • Tamnnet: Specific departments can be responsible for spreading the word to raise awareness and get more buy-in.
  • Elliot: we could have incentives (carrots) for reducing carbon rather than just sticks
  • Kate: on one hand we don’t want to make this abstract, it should enter our decision-making, but it needs to be feasible administratively.
  • Martha: Could we think collectively about reducing Carleton’s carbon footprint/offset costs rather than just our department’s carbon footprint/offset costs. We all need to work to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint.
  • Tamnnet: Specific departments can be responsible for spreading the word to raise awareness and get more buy-in.
  • Update graphic depicting our offset priorities.
  • Elliott: Think about retaining some contingency/pot to fund bonus offset projects.
  • Beck: To what extent are local projects negatively impacted by fluctuating dollar amounts?
  • Aaron & Martha: Advocate for going beyond the original $60,000. We would frame matching as our funding proposal.