Meeting Summaries

Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
May 3, 2019

Jennifer Haverkamp, Steve Forrest, Drew Horning, Anna Stefanopoulou, Gregory Keoleian, Hank Baier, Larissa Larsen, Missy Stults, Jonathan Overpeck, Logan Vear, Austin Glass, Brandon Hofmeister, Lisa Wozniak, Barry Rabe, Tony Denton, Liz Barry, James Holloway

Regrets: Camilo Serna, Andrew Berki

1:33pm Meeting begins

Updates on developments since the last meeting

The meeting opened with an update on the work plan, which is now posted on the website.

While the work plan emphasizes the criticality of stakeholder involvement, one member further emphasized the importance of ensuring that internal and external analyses directly involve non-technical experts who are likely to be affected by recommended actions.

An update was also provided regarding a mini Town Hall involving people from the Taubman College and Stamps school communities.

It was announced that the Commission’s Project Coordinator has been hired and will begin on May 29, 2019.

Externally-Commissioned Infrastructure Analysis

This discussion focused on shaping the process for conducting an externally-commissioned analysis to evaluate campus infrastructure and what would be required to move it toward carbon neutrality. Commissioners touched on several key elements they felt should be addressed as part of the analysis, including:

  • Recognize the scale involved given the inclusion of the Health System and the Flint and Dearborn campuses (note: Dearborn & Flint do not yet have an emissions inventory)
  • Distinguish between campus-wide energy infrastructure and building-level considerations
  • Segment building stock based on usage type (e.g., office/classroom, residential, low-tech lab, hi-tech lab, patient care, data centers, etc.)
  • Assess optimal usage of existing building stock
  • Assess energy distribution infrastructure capacity, needs, etc.
  • Address transportation infrastructure opportunities extending beyond the campus alongside local and regional partners
  • Identify opportunities that could spur companies to develop new clean energy capacity in the State
  • Identify opportunities where infrastructure decisions could support the circular economy
  • Incorporate consideration of planned future construction in the analysis

Commissioners proposed to begin with a “Request for Information” to identify what firms have to offer and follow up with more specific “Request for Proposals” based on what services are available and most useful. A sub-group was formed to draft the RFI and bring it back to the Commission to finalize.

Potential “Early Wins”

This discussion focused on developing ideas for actions that could potentially be recommended for implementation prior to the completion of the Commission’s work. This began with a discussion to collectively define what the group means by an “early win”. Key elements included:

  • Visible
  • Substantive
  • Virtue signaling
  • Directional
  • Complementary
  • Educational
  • Does not impede future directions or decisions
  • Achievable in the next 6-12 months

Commissioners also had an initial discussion of various “early win” ideas they had collected prior to the meeting. A commission sub-group is being formed to develop a short list of priorities that align with the Commission’s definition that will be proposed to the full membership for consideration.

A subgroup was also established to explore the accuracy of UM’s carbon accounting, including assessing losses/leakages throughout the supply chain, as well as fugitive emissions on campus.

Another subgroup was established to explore possible short-term actions to help accelerate electric vehicle transportation infrastructure on campus.

3:35pm Meeting adjourned

Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
April 12, 2019


Hank Baier, Andrew Berki, Steve Forrest, Austin Glass, Jennifer Haverkamp, Brandon Hofmeister, Drew Horning, Gregory Keoleian, Larissa Larsen, Jonathan Overpeck, Barry Rabe, Camilo Serna, Anna Stefanopoulou, Missy Stults, Logan Vear, Lisa Wozniak

Regrets: Liz Barry, Tony Denton, James Holloway

Started promptly at 1:30pm

Updates on engagement efforts since the last meeting

The co-chairs opened with a summary of engagement conducted since the previous meeting, which included engagement with:

  • Academic Planning Group (i.e., U-M Deans)
  • Associate Deans Group
  • Graham Sustainability Institute External Advisory Board
  • Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Group
  • Local A2 citizens advocacy group
  • 2 Town Hall events with roundtable conversations
  • Special Public Session with President Schlissel

Future engagement:

  • Ongoing engagement and communication in many forms and with many different stakeholders will be essential
  • There are conceptual plans for a town-gown engagement geared toward the broader A2 area community – perhaps in June around the A2 Green Fair
  • Engaging with key decision makers (e.g., President, Board of Regents) at key milestones will be important

Presentation and discussion on U-M GHG emission reduction – past progress and current status, and plans (Hank Baier and Andy Berki)


Key notes:

  • Data shown is for Ann Arbor campus only. It does not include Flint and Dearborn which are also in scope for the Commission
  • Forecasts reflect “business as usual” approach and could change based on Commission recommendations that are adopted by the university
  • U-M’s heating infrastructure, which is currently fueled by natural gas, will be a key issue for the Commission to address
  • The State of Michigan and much of the U.S. face similar challenges related to current reliance on natural gas heating infrastructure

Discussion of Draft Work Plan

All Commission members had the opportunity to comment on a draft work plan in advance of the meeting, and a revised draft reflecting that input was shared prior to the meeting. This revised draft plan was discussed in detail at the meeting. Based on that discussion further refinements will be made to the work plan with a goal of finalizing it before the next Commission meeting and moving quickly to implementation. The final work plan will be made public.

Meeting ended 3:05pm.

Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
March 11, 2019

3:30pm – Meeting began

Co-chairs opened the meeting by summarizing the agenda. This was followed an update from the commission’s administrative director on plans for the Town Hall immediately following the meeting.

Representatives from U-M’s Office of General Counsel and FOIA Office then briefed the Commission on how the FOIA process works at U-M.

This was followed by a discussion of the Commission’s operating principles and guidelines

The co-chairs described engagement efforts to date with students and turned it over to the student commission members to outline the progress being made in developing the student advisory panel. The primary goal is to ensure the panel has diverse representation across university programs, campuses, and topical areas of interest related to climate change and carbon reduction.

Next, there was a discussion of the potential composition and purpose of the University Advisory Panel. The goal is to make this group large enough that it is representative of all three campuses and all types of major U-M units, while also keeping it small enough to be highly functional.

Professor Greg Keoleian then gave an informative presentation on GHG emission scopes and their components. Those slides are posted on the Commission’s public website. View/download slides (PDF)

The presentation was followed by a preliminary discussion of UM GHG emissions by scope, with a particular focus on Scope 3 emissions, which come from a variety of sources including commuting, business travel, solid waste disposal, etc. Commission members discussed the importance and challenges of creating accurate metrics for tracking Scope 3 emissions, and benchmarking how other universities, industries, and communities are addressing Scope 3 emissions. This discussion also included recognition that potential approaches need to be mindful of socio-economic impacts.

5pm – Meeting adjourned

Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
February 22, 2019

The meeting opened with President Schlissel giving the charge to the Commission to begin its work on carbon neutrality. He stressed the importance of the objectives of the Commission as set forth in the Charge document, and the commitment of the university to ensuring that we meet the goals set forth in the objectives. He reminded the Commission that its purpose was advisory, to recommend actions that will lead to meeting the university’s goals. The university administration and the Board of Regents’ duty will be to act on those recommendations in a responsible manner, balancing the top priorities of the university, which include setting and meeting goals for carbon neutrality. President Schlissel reviewed the scope of the Commission which includes all three campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn). President Schlissel also reiterated the university’s commitment to and expectation of achieving the 2025 goal of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2006 baseline, and charged the Commission with focusing its efforts on the path forward beyond 2025.

After President Schlissel departed, the Commission members introduced themselves to each other, describing their backgrounds, relevant areas of expertise, and interests in working to achieve the Commission's objectives.

This was followed by the co-chairs setting forth the responsibilities of the Commission members as the work proceeds, and a discussion of the initial focus of work. Topics to be addressed over the next few meetings will include formation of the advisory panels and exploring the scope of the Commission’s work, which will include briefings on how emission scopes are defined and familiarizing members with the baseline, history and status of UM efforts to date.

The Commission suggested and agreed to host a first public “Town Hall” session as soon as possible to gain additional input from the broader stakeholder community.