The purpose of this paper is to establish necessity and methods for considering greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation policies at a system‐level. The research emphasizes connecting narrowly focused GHG mitigation objectives (e.g. reduce single occupancy vehicle travel) with broader institutional objectives (e.g. growth in student population) to demonstrate how policies operating at different scales individually and collectively influence GHG reductions.
First, a framework for defining divergent policy types and associated GHG impacts is developed. Second, relying on data from a higher education institution, a quantitative model for testing policy impacts is formulated. Last, through adjustment of the model's policy levers, GHG emission trajectories by policy type are compared.
The central finding is that broad level policies associated with housing stock and student growth are more capable of influencing GHG emissions than traditionally classified mitigation policies such as investing in alternatives transportation services. Moreover, based on the divide between stationary and mobile emission sources and related energy intensities, the incentive exists for reducing housing investments and increasing student commuting rates as a means of cost‐effectively managing GHG emissions in the short term.
Tradeoffs exist in GHG mitigation efforts and wider higher education planning. However, institutions lack the methods and tools to evaluate these tradeoffs, either within the narrow field of GHG mitigation efforts or across broader institutional priorities. This research presents a method and case study for better understanding tradeoffs through a systems approach.
Williamson, S. (2012), "A systems approach to reducing institutional GHG emissions", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 46-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371211190308Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited