Monday, December 24, 2007

Carbon-neutral Campus

The College of the Atlantic up in cute little Bar Harbor, Maine -- a tiny college with only 300 students where everyone majors in "human ecology" -- has become the first college in the US to become carbon neutral. They've purchased carbon offsets for the 2,488 tons of carbon they've emitted over the last 15 months, for about $25,000, or about $10/ton.

They're purchasing the offsets from The Climate Trust of Oregon, which in turn is buying the offsets from the city of Portland (Oregon) from a project they have that will improve the timing of traffic signals (total net savings, 171,786 tons of CO2 over five years).

OK. I'm happy to help the College of the Atlantic reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But shouldn't the traffic engineers of the city of Portland already have been working to optimize the timing of their traffic signals? If fact, I thought they would have done this a long time ago just because, you know, it's part of their job. Does there really have to be a special project with outside funding to make it happen?

If I hold my breath for a minute, will someone pay me a dollar?

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