TJ14.2 Estimating the Impact of Quality Education on Individual Lifetime Carbon Emissions

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 3:45 PM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Eugene Cordero, San Jose State Univ., San Jose, CA; and D. C. Centeno

In certain circles, strategies to mitigate climate change typically center on clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, electric vehicles and solar panels. In those cases, the mitigation potential of a quality educational experience is rarely discussed. In this project, we investigate the role of education on individual carbon emissions using case studies from an intensive one-year university course focused on climate science and solutions. The course, which has been highly rated by the more than 500 students who completed the end-of-year evaluations, serves as a model for a quality educational experience that can influence future decisions and behaviors. We survey students who have completed this course at least five years ago to determine their carbon emissions trajectories since taking the class. We then compare the mitigation potential of such an educational experience with other mitigation measures such as electric vehicles and the adoption of renewable energy technologies. By quantifying the potential role of education on lifetime carbon emissions, more informed decisions could be made about investment into education as a climate mitigation strategy.
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