U-M will pursue a path toward carbon neutrality

Dana Elger
Release Date: 

The University of Michigan will further its commitment to sustainability by pursuing a path toward carbon neutrality for the university and helping others in the region, state and nation reach the same goal, President Mark Schlissel said Thursday.

Speaking at his annual Leadership Breakfast, Schlissel said he would appoint a commission in the coming months to develop a plan that includes specific strategies and a timeline for the university to achieve carbon neutrality in a fiscally responsible manner.

The president said the commission on sustainability will consider how to balance carbon neutrality in the context of overall environmental sustainability, suggest concrete avenues to achieve the university’s goals and recommend ways in which all members of the university community can share responsibility for success. It will include experts from across the university as well as representatives of regional partners.

“I am committed during my presidency to putting U-M on a trajectory towards carbon neutrality, and levels of greenhouse gas release that are environmentally sustainable,” Schlissel said.

“Throughout our history, we’ve always strived to impact society in profound ways. I’d like to figure out how to do this in partnership with Ann Arbor, and with other regional stakeholders, in a fashion that can be replicated by others all around our state and around the nation.”

Schlissel also said the university is on track to meet its previous goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent ahead of the 2025 goal, and even exceed it in the years ahead.

In 2011, President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman committed the university to the 25 percent reduction from a 2006 baseline by 2025.

Since that time, the university has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent, primarily through energy conservation efforts.

To achieve the full 25 percent reduction, U-M also is installing a natural gas cogeneration turbine in its Central Power Plant and pursuing a renewable-energy purchase agreement to reduce emissions.