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UM Releases Greenhouse Gas Inventory

In response to growing concerns about the impacts of climate change, The University of Montana has completed its first-ever campus greenhouse gas inventory.

The 38-page report, available online at http://www.umt.edu/urelations/greenhouse.html, is an effort to detail and understand the carbon footprint of UM’s central campus and College of Technology.

In February 2007, UM President George Dennison became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. By signing the agreement, Dennison pledged to make UM more sustainable, with the ultimate goal of neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions on campus.

The UM inventory is an initial step toward achieving that goal and will lead to a campus action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report was submitted to the ACUPCC’s online greenhouse gas reporting system on Sept. 15.

“In my view, this report illustrates quite well the campuswide commitment to sustainability and bodes well for the future of the University,” Dennison said. “We have filed the report with the ACUPCC and have begun to develop plans to reduce the emissions footprint.”

The inventory studied the years 2000 to 2007. During that span, UM emissions increased 16.4 percent. There are many reasons for the increase, such as a growing student population and more campus buildings.

The inventory found UM emitted 42,690 metric tons of carbon dioxide at its two Missoula campuses in 2007. The average full-time UM student contributed about 3.8 metric tons in 2007.

The inventory resulted from a campuswide cooperative effort directed by Jessie Davie, the Associated Students of UM sustainability coordinator and a full-time graduate student. She worked with four interns: Kendra Kallevig, J.J. Vandette, Erika Fredrickson and Sky Orndoff. This group was advised by Phil Condon, an environmental studies associate professor and member of UM’s Sustainable Campus Committee.