New greenhouse gas management and accounting major coming fall 2015

Laren Cyphers

The new, one-of-a-kind Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting program will be a first for Colorado State University, as well as the rest of the nation’s higher education sphere.

The interdisciplinary master’s program, developed by Ecosystem Science and Sustainability professors Rich Conant and Stephen Ogle, includes course work, a required paid internship and can be completed in two to four semesters.


“The U.S. is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and as part of that, we need to train people that have the fundamental understanding of why greenhouse gases are created and how much greenhouse gases are created through different activities so that we can make intelligent decisions about reducing them,” Conant said.

This degree program, offered through CSU’s Ecosystem Science and Sustainability department, is essentially the first of its kind, although there are other programs, both at CSU and across the nation, that address other climate change related issues.

“The uniqueness comes from having a program that addresses ways to do greenhouse gas emissions inventories and apply that to do mitigation projects,” Ogle said.

The skills taught by this program are expected to have a wide reach in terms of potential employment in government organizations, the land use and agriculture sector, energy companies and private firms and big businesses in need of consultants.

“For (big businesses), greenhouse gas emissions are a waste … organizations like Wal-Mart see people understanding emissions as a way to affect cost,” Conant said. “So, what they want to do is focus on driving down emissions so they can increase their systematic efficiency. That’s just one example of a potential employer.”

John Moore, head of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability in the Warner College of Natural Resources, sees this new program as the next step for a university like CSU.

“We’ve got really a lot of talent here at the University in the sustainability realm,” Moore said. “The way in which the University is now structuring itself with the new school and the emphasis on sustainability and our new department, it really allows us to develop in areas we as a university have been leaders in nationally and internationally.”

Moore expects very similar attempts at this program and other climate change related programs to be drafted at CSU and across the nation next year.

The Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting program begins fall 2015 and will be accepting applications through February.

Collegian Green Beat Reporter Laren Cyphers can be reached at or on Twitter @larenwritesgood.