Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


National and international organizations and programs like the United States Global Change Research Project and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree, and scientific evidence indicates, that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in global climate change. Unless actions are taken to reverse and reduce the effects of these emissions, future generations will need to either adapt to or bear the burden of the changed environment. Individuals, companies, institutions, municipalities and countries are being called upon during this urgent world crisis. Universities, which support research and education, have a unique opportunity to become leaders in sustainability.

In October 2007, the UNLV President appointed 11 members to the President's Advisory Task Force on Sustainability. The purpose of the task force was to promote environmental management and sustainable development by recommending specific activities to the president that will allow UNLV to appropriately address future sustainability issues. One specific recommendation was that a carbon footprint analysis, also known as a greenhouse gas inventory (GHGI), be completed within year. Another important recommendation was that the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) be signed by the president. The task force submitted a report to UNLV’s President on June 30, 2008.

As described in the ACUPCC, each signatory institution must complete and report an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions within one year of signing and then update the inventory every two years. In preparation for the signing of this commitment, UNLV took the initiative of completing a GHGI in the summer of 2008. The effort was headed by two undergraduate interns with UNLV’s Urban Sustainability Initiative. The inventory was nearly complete by the time the president signed the ACUPCC on August 18, 2008.

Originally the inventory was to provide greenhouse gas data from Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 to 2008. Completing the inventory back to 2001 would highlight the successes in energy use reductions and other sustainability initiatives already accomplished at UNLV. As data collection progressed, some data were found to be inadequate or unavailable for the study period previously selected, thus in 2009 the period was re-adjusted to better reflect accurate record-keeping. At the same time, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Working Group of the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition was drafting the GHGIs for cities of Southern Nevada and decided that its records were only reliable to 2005. As such, they set 2005 as their baseline year. UNLV decided to adopt this baseline as well.

During the summer of 2009, the greenhouse gas inventory was updated to include FY09, starting with data from FY05 and disregarding previous years. The most current version of the software by Clean Air-Cool Planet does not allow for the input of FY09 data. All FY09 data were collected and saved, except for budget data which were not yet available. When the new version of the software is released, the inventory will be updated.


Environmental impact analysis; Greenhouse gas mitigation; Greenhouse gases; Sustainability; Sustainable development reporting; Universities and colleges—Environmental aspects; University of Nevada; Las Vegas


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Policy | Environmental Sciences | Sustainability