MSU, University of Iowa Become Partners in Chicago Climate Exchange Program

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Michigan State University and the University of Iowa (UI) have agreed to a partnership involving the transaction of carbon credits through the Chicago Climate Exchange program.

“Because MSU is in the initial stages of the CCX program, we need to purchase additional credits until we can ramp up to reduce energy consumption and implementation of the use of alternative fuels at the T.B. Simon Power Plant,” said Lynda Boomer, energy and environmental engineer at MSU. “A partnership with another Big Ten university that is also a member of the CCX is a win-win for both of us.”

CCX , a voluntary program, is the world’s first legally binding and market-based greenhouse gas registry, reduction and carbon credit trading system that operates to reduce major greenhouse gas emissions.

The transaction of 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide credits between MSU and UI is one of the first active steps of MSU‘s involvement with CCX. The CCX gives an allotment of credits each year based on a market-based cap and trade.

“Our commitment for 2007 was around 25,000 tons,” Boomer said. “We need 25,000 tons reduction. And we have not met that because our campus is growing, and we are using more electricity. We will purchase credits from the University of Iowa, which has successfully reduced its emissions by burning oat hulls (a byproduct of Quaker Oats) at its power plant.”

Boomer said the program has resulted in MSU looking at alternative fuels for the power plant.

“We’re burning a small amount of biomass consisting of material made from corn starch, and we’re looking at ways to increase the use of biomaterial,” she said.

MSU joined the CCX in 2006, agreeing to reduce its greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent by 2010. The first compliance year for MSU was 2007.

CCX members reduce emissions by creating and maintaining ways to offset carbon dioxide emissions, such as conserving energy. Scientists theorize that greenhouse gas emissions and reabsorption of those gases must be in balance to combat global warming.

“It’s a really good first step for us to be working with the University of Iowa,” said Bob Ellerhorst, director of utilities at MSU. “We want to thank them for this opportunity to help MSU‘s involvement with the CCX.”

UI joined CCX in 2003 and pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent in 2003, 2 percent in 2004, 3 percent in 2005 and 4 percent in 2006, said Ferman Milster, associate director of utility and energy management at UI.

In 2003, UI partnered with the Iowa Farm Bureau to purchase credits needed to make UI’s required reduction target. Since 2004, UI has reduced its carbon emissions in excess of the CCX target and accumulated excess credits in the CCX registry.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see two higher education institutions supporting each other to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Milster said. “This is sending a strong message to our students, faculty and staff, and the general public that our campuses are willing to assume leadership roles in reducing carbon emissions.”

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