DO ACTIONS SPEAK AS LOUD AS WORDS? COMMITMENTS TO “GOING GREEN” ON CAMPUS

Authors

  • PHILIP SIRIANNI,

    1. Sirianni: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY 13820. Phone 1-607-436-2448, Fax 1-607-436-2543, E-mail sirianp@oneonta.edu
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  • MICHAEL O’HARA

    1. O’Hara: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 13346. Phone 1-315-228-7523, Fax 1-315-228-7033, E-mail mohara@colgate.edu
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    • We thank Chad Sparber, Bob Turner, Zili Yang, John Pumilio, seminar participants from SUNY Oneonta, Colgate University, the 2011 United States Society for Ecological Economics Conference at Michigan State University and the 2012 AAEA Meeting in Seattle, WA, and three anonymous referees for helpful comments. We also thank Claire Donohue and Amanda Fernley for research assistance.


Abstract

Signatories to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) pledge to pursue a path toward carbon neutrality through the choice of a set of Tangible Actions (TAs). The actions can be chosen either because they will lead to reductions or because they are the easiest to achieve. By exploiting the variation in the TAs chosen by colleges, we find evidence for both of these motivations. We find evidence that schools focusing their efforts on improving energy efficiency have achieved swift reductions. Conversely, schools pledging to use green power are generally already utilizing it and therefore do not achieve additional reductions. We conclude with suggestions for improvement in the ACUPCC reporting system that would improve potential for analysis. (JEL Q01, Q40, Q56)

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