Taylor Leyden, 2012, Undeclared

This summer, I examined possible solutions to a problem that Princeton University is facing regarding its carbon footprint. The University wishes to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but 25% of that reduction goal remains undetermined–the first 75% will be comprised of comprehensive energy efficiency projects. During my internship, I delved into the areas of renewable energy and environmental legislation in New Jersey. My research focused on Renewable Energy Certificates, carbon offsets, renewable energy installation, and incentive programs in our state and those offered under cap-and-trade legislation. Due to many convoluted additionality concerns–a term which refers here to the degree to which a certain entity is responsible for carbon reductions–I determined that the most sensible thing for Princeton to do, given current economic and legislative conditions, would be to buy good carbon offsets.