The University of Maryland released today an updated climate action plan that outlines new strategies and priorities to help the university become carbon neutral by 2050. Specifically, Climate Action Plan 2.0 defines strategies that will not only reduce the university’s carbon footprint but will fully integrate sustainability into educational and research efforts across campus as well.
Key highlights of the updated plan include:
•President’s Energy Initiatives: designed to reduce campus energy consumption and increase building efficiency and renewable energy purchasing
•Carbon Neutral Air Travel Initiative: aimed at neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions from air travel through the purchase of carbon offsets
•Commuter Programming that offers incentives to encourage campus commuters to carpool or use public transportation
•New sustainability educational programs, research efforts and purchasing initiatives
Climate Action Plan 2.0 is an interactive and evolving body of work that will also spotlight campus partners who are playing a critical role in the university’s mission and encouraging participation from the entire UMD community.
As one of the initial signatories of the 2007 American College & University President's Climate Commitment(now called the Carbon Commitment), the university created an Office of Sustainability and developed a Climate Action Plan in 2009 with the goal of being a carbon neutral campus by the year 2050.
Since then, the university has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent and expanded the physical campus by 11 percent. Thousands of students are educated about sustainability each year and the Sustainability Studies Minor is currently the largest minor on campus. In addition, the university research community has created new forms of renewable energy technology and published seminal works that have influenced climate and energy policy locally and around the world.
UMD strives to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which is the next milestone on the path toward carbon neutrality. The campus Sustainability Progress Report, set for release in October, will highlight the university’s sustainability efforts and achievements.
Most recently, the University of Maryland reaffirmed its commitment to climate action by signing the “We Are Still In” coalition statement this summer, while also working to complete the installation of over 7,000 solar panels on campus parking garages. All members of the UMD community are invited to the solar panel dedication ceremony at the Regents Drive Garage rooftop on Wednesday, October 11 at 10:00am.
For more information about the University Maryland Climate Action Plan, visit climateplan.umd.edu.
October 2, 2017