Climate change is one of the biggest environmental threats the planet has ever seen, and will impact everything from the levels of the oceans (leading to flooding and weather events) to food security (through the creation of new deserts, called desertification). While Mason's footprint is small compared to the rest of the world, we keep growing as a university – more buildings, cars, and people means more emissions. Climate is Mason's top environmental priority. Nearly all of our environmental impacts can be tied to emissions production. We need everyone's help, from Mason students to faculty and staff, to meet our goals. Click on Conserve to see how you can help Mason become a leader.
Back in 2007, George Mason University's President Merten signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment which committed Mason to becoming climate neutral by 2050. That means the university is actively taking steps to reduce its environmental impact, primarily the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with the university's operations, and then offsetting the rest. Moreover, Mason agreed to incorporate sustainability into its academic and extracurricular offerings. Since that pledge, Mason has made real progress with those goals, completing several Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories to measure its emissions, producing its first Climate Action Plan which serves as a road map for achieving climate neutrality, and reporting on its sustainability progress with aSustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) report.
Additionally, in 2012, Mason purchased 10% of its annual electricity use in wind powered Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This purchase of RECs avoids over 17 million pounds of CO2 emissions, which is like taking almost 1,500 cars off the road for a year or like powering 963 homes for a year! Buying RECs also supports the development of the renewable energy industry in the United States. Mason was recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Partner.