Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.56
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colorado State University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Nik Olsen
Assistant Director of Administrative Communications
Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

The Fort Collins City Council on March 3, 2015, unanimously adopted the Climate Action Plan, which included some of the most aggressive goals in the nation to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions:

• 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020
• 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2030
• Carbon neutral by 2050

These aspirational goals speed up the City's original 2008 goals, which would have required reducing emissions to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Within the plan, the partnership between Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins is identified as a key reason the Climate Action Plan could be successful. The plan cited CSU as a leader in climate change research and education, and how CSU can help Fort Collins shape and implement its energy transformation. The CAP plan notes that the University has its own aggressive goals (75% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050) and alone accounts for about a fifth of Fort Collins’ population.

Colorado State University actively campaigned for the adoption of the City’s accelerated Climate Action Plan with an official endorsement from the President’s Sustainability Committee and advocacy from campus leaders at public forums, meetings, and open houses. The City held a public open house on the Climate Action Plan attended by more than 150 people on December 14, 2015. On behalf of CSU, two professors and campus leaders hosted the open house event: Diana Wall, University Distinguished Professor and Director of the School of Global Sustainability, and Brian Dunbar, Professor Emeritus and Executive Director of the Institute for the Built Environment,
http://www.fcgov.com/environmentalservices/pdf/cap-framework-2015.pdf.

The City has formed CAP Implementation Teams and representing CSU are Carol Dollard, CSU's Energy Manager and Co-Chair of the President's Sustainability Committee on the CAP Renewable Energy Team and Stacey Baumgarn, CSU's Energy Coordinator, on the Energy Efficiency Team. On August 24, 2016, the City hosted a public forum with former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who serves as the director of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy; Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell; and City Manager Darin Atteberry, to discuss Ritter's new book about America's energy future and how it relates to the City's goals. The discussion was followed by an open house aimed at obtaining public feedback on initiatives that could help the community reach its 2020 carbon emissions reduction goals.

Another public policy advocacy example on both the local and state level is the "CSU Faculty Statement on Climate Change" signed by 192 faculty members across a diverse array of disciplines on campus. The statement reads in part:

"We are part of the overwhelming consensus that has provided the scientific evidence for and affirms the seriousness of human-caused climate change. We stand for scientific research, reasoned inquiry, and verifiable facts. Our scholarship, like that of scientists worldwide, points to the negative current and future changes to our climate – with consequences such as more damaging wildfires, extreme events like droughts and floods, sea level rise - and the impacts of climate change on society, flora and fauna, health and critical processes that support human well-being and the human enterprise.

We are part of collaborative efforts to discover and implement technical, socio-economic, cultural, and political solutions to climate change.

We are also educators who help students understand this complex issue, appreciate the competing values and perspectives that shape public discourse around it, and prepare them to meet this emerging challenge.

As employees of a public land-grant institution, we affirm our responsibility to deploy our knowledge in service of society, in Colorado and beyond. We will continue to work with diverse people and cultures and to collaborate with university leaders; local, state, and federal elected officials; faith communities and civic organizations; and business leaders – many of whom are already engaged in raising awareness and developing innovative strategies for reducing and adapting to climate change."


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Colorado’s longtime ban on residential rain barrels came to an end in 2016 and now most homeowners in the state are allowed to collect precipitation for later outdoor use. The Colorado Legislature passed the bill in 2016 after previously rejecting the measure in past sessions over concerns that household rain barrels would take water from the supply available to agriculture and other water-rights holders. A study conducted by the Colorado Stormwater Center, housed within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University, showed otherwise. Nearly all of the water would be absorbed in the ground by the downspout or in the ground in the garden, the CSU analysis indicated. “We do not think any changes to the water cycle could be accurately quantified or measured,” said Chris Olson, a researcher and program manager at the Stormwater Center. “The water is going to be infiltrated or evaporated. The only difference is the timing, a day, maybe two, before the rain barrel is emptied.” Colorado has been the only state with an outright ban on residential rain barrels and one of just four states that restrict rainwater harvesting.

CSU experts testified on behalf of the bill. The capture and use of rainwater using rain barrels does not constitute a water right, said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute, part of CSU’s Office of Engagement. HB 1005 includes language that could result in the State Engineer curtailing the use of individual rain barrels if a water-right holder can prove that those rain barrels have impacted their ability to receive the water that they are entitled to by virtue of their water right, according to Waskom.

http://stormwatercenter.colostate.edu/

Another public policy advocacy example on both the local and state level is the "CSU Faculty Statement on Climate Change" signed by 192 faculty members across a diverse array of disciplines on campus. The statement reads in part:

"We are part of the overwhelming consensus that has provided the scientific evidence for and affirms the seriousness of human-caused climate change. We stand for scientific research, reasoned inquiry, and verifiable facts. Our scholarship, like that of scientists worldwide, points to the negative current and future changes to our climate – with consequences such as more damaging wildfires, extreme events like droughts and floods, sea level rise - and the impacts of climate change on society, flora and fauna, health and critical processes that support human well-being and the human enterprise.

We are part of collaborative efforts to discover and implement technical, socio-economic, cultural, and political solutions to climate change.

We are also educators who help students understand this complex issue, appreciate the competing values and perspectives that shape public discourse around it, and prepare them to meet this emerging challenge.

As employees of a public land-grant institution, we affirm our responsibility to deploy our knowledge in service of society, in Colorado and beyond. We will continue to work with diverse people and cultures and to collaborate with university leaders; local, state, and federal elected officials; faith communities and civic organizations; and business leaders – many of whom are already engaged in raising awareness and developing innovative strategies for reducing and adapting to climate change."


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

The Center for the New Energy Economy was founded in 2011 as a department of CSU led by former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. The Center works directly with governors, legislators, regulators, companies and stakeholders by providing technical and strategic assistance to help decision makers create policies that facilitate America’s transition to a clean energy economy.

The Center’s assistance is tailored to the opportunities, needs and conditions in each client state. All of our services are free of charge. Generally, this assistance will consist of one or more of the following:

> Assistance in developing legislative, regulatory and programmatic plans for clean energy development, building on policies already in place and on models from other states. Our work involves building upon proposals already in development, and suggesting new policies.

> Direct engagement with the governor and staff, state energy office director and staff, legislators, regulators, and opinion leaders, to advise on policy best practices and how to implement them.

> Coordination with local industry and policy stakeholders.

website: http://cnee.colostate.edu

Another example of public policy advocacy at the national level was the 2015 White House Climate Day of Action that President Frank signed and the President's Sustainability Committee hosted on campus with a gathering of student, faculty, and staff sustainability leaders on campus.

Diana Wall, University Distinguished Professor and Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, was recently a signatory on a letter to Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, to counter his contention that carbon dioxide from human activity does not contribute to global warming: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13032017/epa-scott-pruitt-donald-trump-climate-denial-carbon-dioxide-global-warming

Another public policy advocacy example on both the local and national level is the "CSU Faculty Statement on Climate Change" signed by 192 faculty members across a diverse array of disciplines on campus. The statement reads in part:

"We are part of the overwhelming consensus that has provided the scientific evidence for and affirms the seriousness of human-caused climate change. We stand for scientific research, reasoned inquiry, and verifiable facts. Our scholarship, like that of scientists worldwide, points to the negative current and future changes to our climate – with consequences such as more damaging wildfires, extreme events like droughts and floods, sea level rise - and the impacts of climate change on society, flora and fauna, health and critical processes that support human well-being and the human enterprise.

We are part of collaborative efforts to discover and implement technical, socio-economic, cultural, and political solutions to climate change.

We are also educators who help students understand this complex issue, appreciate the competing values and perspectives that shape public discourse around it, and prepare them to meet this emerging challenge.

As employees of a public land-grant institution, we affirm our responsibility to deploy our knowledge in service of society, in Colorado and beyond. We will continue to work with diverse people and cultures and to collaborate with university leaders; local, state, and federal elected officials; faith communities and civic organizations; and business leaders – many of whom are already engaged in raising awareness and developing innovative strategies for reducing and adapting to climate change."


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Through the Global Biodiversity Center, part of the CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability, connects faculty involved in biodiversity research at CSU, encourages knowledge transfer across campus and with international partners, and promotes CSU as an international center for biodiversity research through research and public awareness. The GBC is built on three pillars: Research; Policy; and Outreach. The GBC provides training to scientists on communicating their results to policy makers, and links policy makers with biodiversity scientists with expertise relevant to their specific information needs. Among the activities performed through GBC include:
• A project that is conducting long-term monitoring of the Samburu elephant population in Kenya to gain a better understanding of the resilience of social animals to mortality surges and how they respond and recover from human caused social disruption.
• Conservation efforts to for the Bhutanes national mammal, the takin. CSU GBC researchers are working at local and national levels to facilitate science-based on-the-ground conservation practices.
• In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation: A recent controversial challenge in Mongolia involved whether to develop a captive propagation center or to invest funds into in situ conservation. CSU’s GBC efforts with Mongolian biologists resulted in population estimates in the wild to demonstrate that saiga were more abundant than had been presumed, and there was no need to concentrate on far more expensive ex situ practices. Mongolian Academy of Science biologists were sponsored for a training workshop in the USA on modern techniques to estimate population abundance. These are now the standard to estimate population sizes of some wildlife species. Further, GBC researchers will be seeking ways to develop strategies to enhance future herder lifestyles while addressing negative effects of the growing cashmere trade (e. g. proliferation of domestic goats) on Central Asian large mammals; this involves engagement with the garment industry and local government.
• Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific Island Countries and Atolls (MACBIO): MACBIO Natural resources in marine and coastal areas are of high economic importance for Pacific island countries and sustain the livelihoods of coastal communities. A CSU GBC researcher is examining the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB) for MACBIO. Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for a period of five years, the MACBIO project will undertake economic assessments of marine and coastal ecosystems in five project countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) in a national and on regional level compatible to the global TEEB program in order to contribute to national development plans. The project aims to assist governments to extend re-designed MPA networks using seascape-level planning and will demonstrate effective approaches to site management, including payment for ecosystem services. Tried and tested concepts and instruments will be shared with governments and stakeholders throughout the Pacific community and disseminated internationally.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

The CSU's Center for the New Energy Economy works closely with CSU’s rural economic development activities, spearheaded by Director of Economic Development and former Larimer County Commissioner Kathay Rennels, to advance statewide economic initiatives related to clean and renewable energy.

CSU participated in the 2015 White House Climate Day of Action to show support ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement.


A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

N/A - as a public institution, CSU does not make political contributions


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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