UH Manoa Leads Study on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dr. Lorenz Magaard
Dr. Lorenz Magaard
Denise Konan
Denise Konan

MANOA (KHNL)  --  The University of Hawaii at Manoa takes the lead in the fight against global warming.  It's a growing concern all over the world and scientists blame greenhouse gases for the negative impact on our environment.

To take positive steps, you have to know the impact.   That's exactly what UH Manoa is doing, becoming the first university in the country to sign on for a study on greenhouse gases.

UH Manoa is the largest college campus in Hawaii.  It's also a leader in the fight against global warming, becoming the first American university to measure and publicly report its greenhouse gas emissions.

"We want to develop a consciousness of energy savings of the whole nine yards and demonstrate here that we can actually reduce our own emissions," said Dr. Lorenz Magaard, director of the International Center for Climate and Society at UH Manoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

UH Manoa is one of 75 groups taking part in this program through a non-profit organization called the Climate Registry.

"The first step when you want to lose weight, you got to step on the scale and see how heavy you are," said Craig Coleman, a UH oceanography graduate student who is researching the impact of greenhouse gases.  "So this gives us an opportunity to standardize the way that we're measuring greenhouse gases."

"The climate registry is all about measuring our progress, saying where are we today?  Where do we want to be tomorrow?  Can we commit to this?  Can we measure this?" said Dr. Denise Konan, a UH economics professor.

The goal is to measure greenhouse emissions to learn how to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and slow global warming.

"Now petroleum, I just read, $120 per barrel, and as a state we're 90 percent dependent on petroleum for our energy," said Konan. "We need to move away from; we need to find other ways."

While the Manoa community favors this program, it needs stronger support for it to succeed.

"And that will help indeed the environment but if we're the only one doing this, it's not enough," said Magaard.

And the university also has financial incentives for reducing energy use on campus.  Its energy bill is estimated at $22 million this year, $4 million more than last year.

UH Manoa hopes to reduce energy use 30 percent by 2012, and have a quarter of its campus energy from renewable resources by 2020.