Listen: Swarthmore's New Carbon Charge Paves Way for Sustainability

WHYY Newsworks: Charging for carbon to create change

It's not a tuition hike, but there is a new charge this semester affecting Swarthmore students, as well as faculty and staff. ... 

"We are charging each department on campus an assessment against their carbon use," explains Greg Brown, vice president for finance and administration, “and then be taking and using it for carbon and sustainability projects, as well as educational projects on campus."

"We are among a small group of institutions who are setting an internal price on carbon," notes Aurora Winslade, Swarthmore's director of sustainability. "There's a lot of work to be done on our campus in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. It's also an educational opportunity because if we can put a price on carbon - nationally, internationally - it represents one of the main paths forward for rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

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"By being a leader here, and taking the chance on doing this in a way no one else has tried before," Brown says, "we should be in a position to help other institutions, both from our mistakes as well as our successes."

Listen to the full interview.

Implemented for the 2016-17 academic year, a carbon charge makes the real costs of carbon emissions visible, thereby motivating their reduction. Swarthmore is one of the first institutions in higher education to make this commitment, representing a meaningful step forward in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. Learn more about the carbon charge and the College's commitment to sustainability.