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Colorado Athletics Joins UN's 'Race to Zero' Emissions Campaign

Paul Steinbach
Cu

The University of Colorado athletic department has joined businesses, other universities and entire countries around the world in a United Nations effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Among the nation's first campuses to pursue the elimination of waste at home football games, the CU department’s commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2040 as part of the UN's Race to Zero campaign is consistent with athletic director Rick George’s previous actions on climate initiatives, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, citing Dave Newport, director of the CU Boulder Environmental Center.

“We are well-known for Rick’s leadership in this space and the work that CU Athletics has done, and this is just the next step,” Newport said in a statement.

According to the Daily Camera, CU athletics was a founding member of the Green Sports Alliance in 2011, renovated and built facilities to meet the highest standards of sustainability, hosted zero-waste tailgates and implemented aluminum cups at Folsom Field to reduce plastic use.

“We can all continue to set examples for our fans and everybody else watching to make sustainable choices,” George said.

The campus’ annual carbon emissions are roughly 130,000 tons, Newport said, and the athletics department makes up 8,000 to 9,000 of those tons, or between 6 and 7 percent.

A big part of Race To Zero is identifying sources of carbon emissions that are not as obvious as gas in a car or coal fueling power plants, such as air travel. While individual actions might not be as effective in reducing “supply-chain carbon,” collective action is still effective, according to Newport.

“There’s a lot of room for hope in what we can do in terms of supply-chain carbon,” he said.

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