The carbon footprint of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville measures the total emissions caused by the university, and expresses it as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
Increasingly individuals and organizations like UW-Platteville are recording the greenhouse gases that they emit in order to have a better understanding of their contribution to climate change.
Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
Climate change, or the contemporary rise in the average temperature on Earth, is caused by a series of different gases. These gases (including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) absorb and emit radiant energy within our atmosphere. As humans influence the emission patterns of these gases (through burning fossil fuels, for example), the gases are increasing the heat that is trapped within our atmosphere.
UW-Platteville has reported on our greenhouse gases in 2016, 2018, 2019, and in a 2010 student report.
Greenhouse gas reports typically include three scopes:
- Scope 1 are emissions that are created on campus
- Scope 2 are emissions that campus is directly responsible for, but that are created off campus (e.g. our electricity emissions)
- Scope 3 emissions are those that the campus is responsible for, but that are more indirect and thus more difficult to measure (e.g. emissions as a result of our staff driving to work on campus).
To date, UW-Platteville has reported on scope 1 and 2, but not 3. Incidentally, though, efforts are being made to promote more sustainable transportation to alleviate the scope 3 emissions.