Sustainability

West Chester University

 


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Welcome! This website is an effort to raise awareness of sustainability efforts across campus as well as to help inform you of sustainability issues and how you can get involved.

CO2 and Climate Change

climate change

In the mid-19th century, many large cities regularly suffered epidemics of cholera and other waterborne diseases because they used their waterways as open sewers. Public health vastly improved after human waste was properly treated and/or diverted away from city waterways. This improvement came with a great initial cost; however, no one in a modern city could imagine again using the Schuylkill, Hudson, Thames or Seine as an open sewer and propose that the cost did not justify the benefit wrought to society.

Today, we use the atmosphere as an open sewer for combustion emissions. Many argue against control of greehouse gas emissions, such as those of CO2, because of the cost. Cost of controls is an important issue in deciding which control strategies should be implemented. However, these costs have to be weighed against the cost of inaction. Or stated more emphatically, at what cost do we use the atmosphere as a sewer?

This page provides both local information about West Chester University's impact on the environment as well as information on critical issues in global climate change. In the links below you can find information explaining the role of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in climate change as well as information about WCU's carbon footprint. For more climate science from climate scientists check out realclimate.org.

America's Climate Choices

The National Research Council of the National Acadamies of Science is a nonpartisan, impartial scientific body created to give advice to the nation on science, engineering and medicine. They are engaged in not only studying climate change, but also in developing a rational, reasoned response to climate change. Check out this page and the accompanying videos for more information.

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

This web page will introduce and lead you through the content of the most comprehensive and authoritative report of its kind. The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It's also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.

The Breathing Earth simulation is a real-time simulation that displays the CO2 emissions of every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's Climate Change Initiatives program leads, supports, and coordinates efforts in our region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for climate change. Over 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are from stationary or mobile energy consumption. The latest science indicates a reduction in GHG emissions of 80 percent is required by 2050 to keep global climate change within an acceptable range. A 50 percent reduction by 2035 would put our region on track to achieve this. We agree with the DVRPC that addressing this issue now as a region will help our region's long-term economic competitiveness.