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UC Merced Signs On for Climate Accountability

November 29, 2006

MERCED - From energy-efficient buildings with sun-shading to
campuswide recycling, UC Merced already has a history of following
through on its commitment to sustainability.

Now, the campus has defined a pathway for future compliance with
stringent standards for climate accountability by becoming a member
of the California Climate Action Registry, which was established by
California statute as a non-profit voluntary registry for
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This nonprofit organization helps
California companies and organizations to establish GHG emissions
baselines against which any future GHG emission reduction
requirements may be applied.

UC Merced announces its participation in the registry in
conjunction with the campus-designated Energy Awareness Day today,
which was initiated by a UC Merced student club, the Green Club.
Energy Awareness displays will be available around the Student Life
area on the first floor of the Kolligian Library.

“The climate action registry offers us a way to report our
greenhouse gas emissions and have them independently verified,”
said campus energy manager John Elliott, who will be participating
in Energy Awareness Day. “Our long-term goal is to become climate
neutral, in keeping with the goals and policies of the entire UC
system.”

Climate neutral, Elliott explained, means reducing greenhouse
gas emissions as much as possible through efficiency or renewable
energy generation, and then offsetting any remaining emissions by
encouraging others to reduce their own emissions. This could happen
through a market system where one user purchases credits for
someone else’s reduction. UC Merced could also take action directly
or help other organizations to reduce their emissions - for
example, by planting trees or improving agricultural practices.

Other UC campuses are signing on to the climate action registry,
as well - UC Berkeley announced its participation last month.

“UC Merced has the advantage of brand-new buildings and advanced
systems,” Elliott said.

“We control energy use on the entire campus from one place. That
makes it a lot easier to monitor what is efficient or inefficient.
It’s an amazing resource and a great tool for reducing our energy
use and to study building energy science.”

The UC System’s draft energy policy is expected to mirror the
California state energy policy initiated by Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger, essentially committing to the goals of the Kyoto
Accords. Elliott is in the process of compiling detailed plans to
describe how UC Merced will meet its goals.

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