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UI, Chevy make carbon credit deal

By: The News-Gazette

The UI will sell an estimated 150,000 metric tons of carbon credits to Chevrolet, which is expected to “retire” them on behalf of the environment, according to officials.
The University of Illinois will have more than $1 million to put toward reducing further carbon emissions on campus through a sale of “carbon credits” to Chevrolet, officials announced today.

The UI has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions over the past few years, earning carbon credits — a financial instrument used to tally the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere and which can be used by companies, individuals or the government to offset damaging carbon emissions they generate. Each carbon credit equals one ton of carbon dioxide.

The UI will sell an estimated 150,000 metric tons of carbon credits to Chevrolet, which is expected to “retire” them on behalf of the environment, according to officials.

“Our campus has taken a significant first step in reducing its carbon footprint,” said Evan DeLucia, UI professor and director of the university’s new Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. “Chevrolet has rewarded these positive steps by joining with campus leadership to provide more than $1 million to help campus achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”

The 2010 Illinois Climate Action Plan pledged to reduce building-related greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, 30 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2050. The campus is on track to surpass the 2015 goal, according to Ben McCall, UI professor and the institute’s associate director for campus sustainability.

In recent years the university has retro commissioned more than 50 campus buildings, such as updating heating and air conditioning systems, and taken on other energy efficiency activities. The campus’ equivalent carbon dioxide emissions — a calculation of greenhouse gases such as methane and sulfur converted to equivalent CO₂ — decreased annually from 2008 to 2012, according to the UI.

Although actual figures will not be determined until campus carbon credits are verified by an independent agency and certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, the campus expects to transfer approximately 150,000 tons of reduction from fiscal years 2012-14 to the Chevrolet initiative.

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