Policy Paper: “Greening Research Networks: Carbon Offsetting” by James Gaede

Policy Paper: “Greening Research Networks: Carbon Offsetting” by James Gaede

Policy Paper (March 2009) James Gaede, PhD candidate, Political Science, Carleton University, under the supervision of James Meadowcroft, Canada Research Chair in Governance for Sustainable Development

This paper seeks to answer the question of how to „green‟ an academic research network through carbon offsetting. Conventional strategies for greening organizations (understood as lessening the organization‟s carbon footprint to the point of carbon neutrality) propose a series of „steps‟ for organizations to follow in order to ensure the process remains standardized, in terms of quantifying impact, and exhaustive, in the sense that organizations do all that is possible to reduce their own footprint before investing in the activities of others to compensate for their remaining impact (the process known as „offsetting‟). Because of their unique organizational structure and operational environment, research networks may be limited in their abilities to quantify their total footprint or significantly reduce their footprint by adjusting their own activities.

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