White Papers

Higher Education Complementarity for Climate Action

Mitigating and adapting to global climate change requires a whole-of-society approach, utilizing resources effectively across all sectors. With its diverse strengths, higher education plays a crucial role in expediting climate solutions. This report showcases varied approaches and actions undertaken by institutions to address climate challenges, emphasizing network designs that identify complementary strengths across institution types and roles and serves as an inspirational and foundational resource, promoting collaboration and partnerships for more effective climate action within and beyond academia.

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Using the Distinctives of Higher Education to Accelerate Climate Action

The higher education sector has played an important role in society for hundreds of years. Today, the sector is well-positioned to leverage its experience in its “missions” (to offer education and vocational training, advance research, and meet society’s needs through applied research) to create solutions to the complex and urgent global problems caused by climate change. This paper describes seven key distinctives of the higher education sector that have emerged from these missions, and how they are
being applied directly to address climate challenges. These distinctives are not entirely unique to the sector, but are areas of sector-specific strength. Articulating these distinctives clearly can help other sectors working on climate issues better understand how cross-sector climate action could be effectively and efficiently accomplished. We provide background on these distinctives, examples of these distinctives at a variety of institutions, and conclude with future opportunities

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Higher Ed and Climate Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

This report, issued jointly with This is Planet Ed, the Aspen Institute, and the MIT Office of Sustainability, reviews provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that can support higher education’s role in addressing climate change.

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The Role of Higher Education in Advancing Carbon Pricing: A Preliminary Briefing for University Leaders

The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)’s first policy topic of interest as indicated by Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake and supported by his colleagues is carbon pricing. UC3 convened subject matter experts from across North America to discuss Higher Education’s Role in Advancing Carbon Pricing. This preliminary brief includes a menu of options for college and university leaders who want to engage on this issue internally on their campuses or externally with cross-sector partners.

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Does Location Matter When Selecting an Off-site Renewable Project?

A statistics-driven look into why project location impacts the ability to hedge against rising electricity costs.

This technical brief explores the impact of a renewable project’s location relative to the location of a campus’s load in hedging against rising electricity costs.

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Large-Scale Renewables: The Next Chapter in Higher Education Sustainability Leadership

Higher education is uniquely positioned to both expand and benefit from climate leadership. Many universities and colleges have substantially stepped up their commitments and efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). However, the ‘climate gap’ toward reaching these commitments is widening, as campuses become more technology and electricity intensive. Large-scale renewable energy (LSRE) provides higher education with an attractive solution to close this gap and show climate leadership, while reducing long-term electricity cost and managing risk.

This white paper, created in partnership with CustomerFirst Renewables, walks through the opportunities and challenges of LSRE projects, how to set them up, and firsts steps.

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