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WSA: Renewable Energy Resolution
December 7, 2003


Campus Climate Pledge
Renewable Economics
Additional Info
Other Institutions

CONCERNED that there is a 90-95% chance that the Earth’s mean surface temperature will increase 1.4-5.8ºC (2.5-10.4ºF) between 2000 and 2100 according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);

CONCERNED that “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” (IPCC);

CONCERED that in the year 2000, the U.S. emitted 1.17 billion metric tons of CO2 in energy production from coal and oil, and that the country’s total emissions for that year were 1.53 billion metric tons, equal to 24% of the world’s total annual CO2 emissions (U.S. Department of Energy);

CONCERNED that the average temperature in Storrs, Connecticut has increased 2.4ºF in the last century (New England Climate Coalition);

CONCERNED that Wesleyan University currently uses zero percent renewable energy;

WHEREAS Wesleyan University has bought 10% renewable energy in the past (Argus, November 13, 2001);

WHEREAS our peer institutions, such as Swarthmore College, Connecticut College, Oberlin College, and Brown University, have already taken measures to buy renewable energy (Student Environmental Action Coalition);

WHEREAS purchasing renewable energy will significantly reduce the amount of Wesleyan’s greenhouse gas emissions;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Wesleyan Student Assembly supports the initiative for Wesleyan University to buy 20% of its energy from renewable sources by the beginning of the 2004-2005 academic year;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the WSA supports the initiative for Wesleyan University to maintain at least this level of renewable energy consumption in each subsequent year;

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED THAT the WSA believes that Wesleyan should sign the Climate Campaign’s Campus Climate Pledge promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010.


The Climate Campaign's
Campus Climate Pledge

Global warming is one of the most significant problems we will deal with in our lifetimes. In the last century, the average temperature in the Northeast increased by 2.3°F. By 2100, temperatures are predicted to increase another 4-5 degrees. We are already seeing the effects of such a significant change in climate on our environment, our health and our economy. Internationally, the threat is even more serious. The World Health Organization recently found that hundreds of thousands of people are already dying from the effects of climate change around the world and that these problems will only get worse as countries continue to emit carbon dioxide at practically unchecked levels.

The New England Governors have endorsed a regional Climate Action Plan to slow the effects of climate change by cutting statewide renewablehouse gas emissions to:

  • 1990 levels by 2010; and
  • 10% below 1990 levels by 2020; and
  • 75-85% below current levels in the long term.

As part of this plan, the New England Governors have issued a challenge to the region's Colleges and Universities to endorse the goals of the Regional Climate Action Plan, and to work within their institutions to reduce their own renewablehouse gas emissions.

The state's higher education and high technology institutions will be instrumental in developing and applying the technologies and industries that we will need to reduce our impact on the climate. By making a commitment to solving climate change, our campus can directly impact the problem, save money and help lead our state to a more sustainable future.

There are many simple, cost-effective steps we can take at the local level, on this campus, to reduce our renewablehouse gas emissions and help the state slow the drastic effects of climate change. In addition there is broad support within the campus community for reducing our impact on the environment and increasing the sustainability of our facilities.

I/We agree with the goals of the Regional Climate Action Plan and pledge to support the goal of reducing the renewablehouse gas emissions of this institution, at a minimum, to 1990 levels by 2010, to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and to 75-85% below current levels in the long term.



Renewable Economics for Wesleyan

  • Number of Kilowatt Hours used by Wesleyan last month:
    1,833,333 (FOOTNOTE 1)
  • Cost of buying 20% of Wesleyan’s electricity from renewable sources each year:
    $50,000 (FOOTNOTE 1)
  • Wesleyan’s Budget Allocation for electricity:
  • Annual tuition at Wesleyan University:
    $29,998 (FOOTNOTE 3)
  • Number of students needed to pay for 20% renewable energy for 1 year:
  • President Bennett’s annual salary:
    $364,540 (FOOTNOTE 3)
  • Percentage of Bennett’s salary needed to buy 20% renewable energy:
  • Metric tons of CO2 not emitted by buying 20% renewable energy:
    3036 (FOOTNOTE 2)
  • Number of miles that would be driven to emit 3036 metric tons of CO2:
    7,300,000 (FOOTNOTE 2)
  • Number of acres of trees that would need to be planted to save 3036 metric tons of CO2:
    740 (FOOTNOTE 2)

1. Ken McGraw, Manager, Vendor Relations, Physical Plant, Wesleyan University
2. American Wind of Boulder, CO. http://www.renewablechoice.com
3. The Wesleyan Argus, November 21 2003


Additional Information

FUELLevelized costs (cents/KWh) (1996)
Wind (without PTC)4.0-6.0
Wind (with PTC)3.3-5.3
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association


Actions Taken by Other Institutions

  • Connecticut College has already committed to purchasing 45% renewable energy as of October 2003 and students are actively pushing the school for a 100% commitment.
  • University of Colorado at Boulder will be run by 27% wind energy.
  • California State University will reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2004
  • Stanford University will “meet or beat” the Kyoto protocol target of reducing renewablehouse gas emissions of by 7% below 1990 levels by 2007.
  • Oberlin College plans to make its campus “climate neutral”- that is to produce no net renewablehouse gas emissions by 2020.
  • Brown University will invest $30 million in renewable building and energy efficiency design and is installing a windmill on top of its tallest building.
  • Emory University will use a stringent renewable building design, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), established by the US Renewable Building Council, for all new and renovated buildings.
  • Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, and the University of Pennsylvania are now purchasing wind power.
  • University of Oregon purchased solar panels for the student union.
  • University of Vermont purchased solar panels to put on a number of buildings.
  • The University of California system just made a huge commitment, buying 10 megawatts of solar power for the state school system.
  • Eastern University is running the Rural Malawi Project to fund clean energy in Africa and students are pushing the school to purchase 100% wind energy within three years.
SOURCE: Student Environmental Action Coalition
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