U-M Moves Toward Carbon Neutrality

Originally published: 
November, 2019

The University of Michigan has taken an important step toward its goal of carbon neutrality by charging a core team to develop recommendations on how to get there, as well as advance scalable and transferable strategies that can be used by other institutions and larger communities to achieve the same goal.

The U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, and its advisory panels, are bringing together the U-M community and regional partners to develop recommendations for reducing U-M’s carbon emissions to levels that are environmentally sustainable, achieved in a fiscally responsible manner, and in the context of its mission of education, research, service, and patient care.

The scope of the president’s charge spans the Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn campuses, and includes, but is not limited to: carbon emissions and sequestration; energy sourcing; technology development and policy change; facilities, operations and mobility; and behavioral change.

“Human-influenced global climate change is the defining scientific, social, and environmental problem of our age, and the University of Michigan is poised to be a significant part of the solution,” President Mark Schlissel said in a message to the university community.

“The commission is designed to marshal the intellectual resources and commitment of the U-M community to contribute to a more sustainable and just world. Commission members will engage broadly within the U-M community and with regional experts and partners,” said Schlissel.

SEAS Dean Jonathan Overpeck and Greg Keoleian, SEAS professor and director of Center for Sustainable Systems, both accepted appointments on the commission, which includes faculty, students, administrators, and local partners.

“I look forward to working with our SEAS community as the process proceeds,” said Overpeck. “We know that countless great ideas and solutions will come from our SEAS community, and we are listening. Moreover, I hope the entire SEAS community will work with us to make this initiative a wild success not only on our campus, but also across our state and beyond. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to move the needle in society toward a more sustainable future for generations to come.”