Lisa M. Curtis

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2010

Major Department or Program

Politics - Environmental Studies


Susanne Beechey Phil Brick


Mandatory and voluntary carbon offsets have been promoted as an important part of the solution to the climate crisis. They are touted for their economic and environmental efficiency as well as their potential to deliver social benefits. However, as voluntary and mandatory offsets have become more popular, problems in the offset market have followed. A few colleges and universities have begun to experiment with a whole new kind of offset. Instead of purchasing offsets from unknown places, these schools are sponsoring energy efficiency projects in their local communities. This thesis explains how these projects might be considered offsets and evaluates their potential for resolving issues in the market. The development of this type of carbon offsets has significant implications for not only the 600 institutions that have pledged to become carbon-neutral but also for organizations and individuals in search of a more tangible and locally beneficial way to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Climactic changes, Higher Education -- Policies, Carbon offsetting, Universities and colleges, Architecture and energy conservation, Atmospheric greenhouse effect, Higher Education -- Environmental aspects, Carbon emissions, Carbon footprint, Carbon markets, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2010 Dissertation Collection Politics-Environmental Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis



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