Q: Why price carbon?
A: Carbon dioxide emissions contribute to climate change, which negatively affects humans in numerous ways. There is a financial cost associated with these negative impacts–for example, after an extreme weather event damages a building the renovation costs money. If carbon emissions are not priced appropriately, generally these costs are not paid by those responsible for emitting. When carbon emissions are priced, emitters pay the price of the negative impacts they cause.
Q: What is internal carbon pricing?
A: Many governments have not put a price on carbon emissions. However, over eight hundred fifty companies have implemented some form of internal carbon pricing as a tool to reduce emissions and to prepare their organization for a future in which carbon is more widely priced. This often involves the organization considering a carbon price when it makes large financial decisions. And some organizations charge business units, departments, buildings, or individuals for emitting carbon. These are examples of internal carbon pricing. They are voluntary and not overseen by an external regulator.
Q: What kinds of organizations have internal carbon pricing programs?
A: Companies with interests in high-emitting sectors such as oil and gas, utilities, and manufacturing often put a price on carbon internally to prepare for future governmental carbon pricing policy measures. Yale is the first university to experiment with internal carbon pricing and the first to implement a financially impactful internal carbon pricing program. Swarthmore College and Vassar College are also implementing internal carbon pricing and many more institutions are exploring the idea.
Q: How is the Charge calculated?
A: The Yale Carbon Charge determines how many tons of greenhouse gas emissions a building is responsible for by collecting data from energy meters, then applying widely-accepted factors to convert different types of energy into metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE). Administrative units are charged an annual amount for each MTCDE. To enable units to adjust their budgets to account for the charges—which will no longer be offset by partial or total returns—the price will be phased in from $20/MTCDE in FY23 to $35 in FY24 to $50 in FY25. Yale will review the amount per MTCDE periodically as our understanding of the social cost of carbon evolves.
Q: What happens with the revenues?
A: Beginning in FY23, all revenues will be used to fund facilities projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most will be invested in modernizing Yale’s infrastructure to benefit all campus building occupants; for example, transitioning from natural gas-generated steam toward lower-carbon alternatives.
Q: Which administrative units are participating?
Q: Where do I find Emissions Information for my building ?
A: Since 2017, Yale lead administrators, operations managers, and facilities superintendents have received carbon charge energy reports for their buildings each month. Yale personnel can ask their lead administrator to send the latest report or can explore energy consumption with Yale’s Energy Explorer tool.
Q: Whom should I contact to improve my building’s energy performance?
A: Every Yale Building has a Facilities Superintendent, who can work with you to improve the energy performance of your building. This list identifies and provides contact information for each Facilities Superintendent.