Location: Leighton Hall, 236

Time: 1:00 p.m.

EAC Members in Attendance: Erica Zweifel, Aaron Swoboda (co-chair), Martha Larson (co-chair), Sadie DiCarlo, Arjendu Pattanayak, Elliot Hanson, Alex Miller, Kate Myer, Ella Stack, and Tamnnet Kidanu.

Guests: Jeremy Flesihacker, Grace Bassekle,

Secretary: Beck Woollen


Stewsie Award Nominations

  • Please send nominations of < 500 words to amiller3@carleton.edu 
  • One staff/faculty and one student recipient awarded $150 each

Climate Action Week Debrief

  • Events were successful 
  • Diverse, accessible. 
  • Energy Club tabled everyday with an interactive light display. 

Save the date for Earth Day: April 23, 2022

  • At The Grand, 7:00 p.m. will have a climate summit. 
  • Take Action tabling in Bridge Square (both Friday and Saturday)
  • Saturday morning has re-skilling workshops (ie. bike repair, herbal remedies, clothing repair). 
  • Action item: please share this with community members; we want earth day to be as large as possible this year! 

Carbon Offsets: discussion based on prep materials

  • We should talk about goals and criteria first. Then, we will choose specific projects later. 
  • Committee members took approx. 3 minutes to review the materials and break into groups of two. 
  • Five scenarios were discussed: 
    • Scenario #1: Cheap and Easy – Carleton considers investing in an offset project in Oregon. The project is third-party verified and will cost only $3 dollars per ton of carbon offset, with the option to offset the entirety of Carleton’s scope three emissions. Foresters in Oregon will be given offset funds under the condition that they delay the cutting of their forests for the next five years, with the ability to renew their offset contract after said five years. Carleton could invest and immediately begin receiving offset credits. Carleton could pull out of the project at any time and reallocate the offset money in the form of a grant for an on-campus offset project proposed by a student.
    • Scenario #2: Conscientious and Compliance Market – Carleton considers investing in a solar farm project being built in Southern California. The project would cost $21 dollars per ton of carbon offset, and the school could begin receiving offset credit by 2025. The project is government certified through a compliance market, and would provide green jobs in an underserved community. However, Carleton students would not be able to interact with the project, and the school would be required to sign a 10 year contract with the company. 
    • Scenario #3: Home Grown and Heavily Engaged – Carleton develops a student offset competition, with grant money available for the winners to create their own offset project. Carleton offers $50 dollars per ton of carbon offsets (more than 16x the cost of Scenario 1), and is aware that the project will likely only meet 15 percent of the school’s offset needs. The project would be built on campus or in Northfield, and would provide opportunities for routine student engagement. While the project would not be complete until 2026, the building of the project would involve the Northfield community and Carleton students, and bring publicity to the school. The project would not be third-party verified. 
    • Scenario #4: Community Collaboration – Carleton has the opportunity to partner with the Rice County Landfill on a multi-year project to capture and flare landfill methane emissions. This will include research, planning, and funding from multiple county and city sources, and include both St. Olaf and Carleton students throughout the process. We plan to get the project third-party verified, but it will take at least three years to complete and the project has an expected 15-year life span. Carleton will have to contribute $5 million up front but will be able to offset its entire remaining carbon footprint for the life of the project (Average = $30 per ton for 15 years). Carleton could also offer a lower capital contribution if it wants to offset only Scope 3 emissions, however without the full $5 million this project will need to find additional investors in order to move forward.
    • Scenario #5: Scalable Grab Bag – Carleton decides to offset its air travel emissions each year, which means that at the end of each fiscal year it needs to purchase a specific number of offsets to match that year’s air travel emissions. Carleton contracts with an offset broker who sells us exactly the amount of carbon offsets that we need to fulfill each year’s obligation. The projects are third-party certified, but Carleton cannot choose exactly which projects we are investing in nor where they are located. But the pool of projects is listed on the company’s website and consists of very typical categories like landfill methane capture, reforestation, etc. The cost is $15 per MTCDE of carbon reduced, and Carleton has the option to lock in that price for the next ten years for a given number of annual offset purchases. As campus projects are verified, these brokered offsets are still used to fill the gap between what Carleton’s self-certified projects can provide and what we need to offset our total air travel footprint.