Mote Signs Presidents’ Climate Challenge

UMD President C.D. Mote, in a move that will surely stun the campus environmental community, has signed the far-reaching Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Maryland joins 284 other colleges and universities who have pledged to take substantive measures to fight Climate Change (see the University announcement). Here is what he commited to doing:

1. Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.

a. Within two months of signing this document, create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan.

b. Within one year of signing this document, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) and update the inventory every other year thereafter.

c. Within two years of signing this document, develop an institutional action plan for becoming climate neutral, which will include:

i. A target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible.

ii. Interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality.

iii. Actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students.

iv. Actions to expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality.

v. Mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.

2. Initiate two or more of the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed.

a. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.

b. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.

c. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.

d. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution

e. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.

f. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution’s endowment is invested.

3. Make the action plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available by providing them to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for posting and dissemination.

3 thoughts on “Mote Signs Presidents’ Climate Challenge”

  1. Really terrific news. Hopefully Doug Duncan will be one of the people in charge. With one more announcement this big, UM could leap from the middle to the head of the pack of Universities working to combat climate change–and think: just yesterday we were bringing up the rear. Obviously, it hasn’t escaped David’s attention that this effort could have many repercussions for our efforts to promote a re-thinking of life in the College Park area–mostly positive repercussions, in my opinion. This announcement folds in well with the first-of-its-kind that Montgomery County under Duncan’s leadership made to purchase renewable energy, and with the state’s recent decision to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with a lot of help from local state Senator Paul Pinsky, among others.

  2. Paul,

    It would take us $12 dollars per student, which has already been voted on by the student body. 91% of students supported a $12 fee for clean energy, but the fee is still languishing in no-man’s land without major support from anyone besides students.

    The money raised would be enough to purchase 137,000 MWh/year – putting us at the top of the list by a comfortable ~20,000 MWh/year margin.

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