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Draft plan released for carbon neutrality at UM campuses

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has a draft plan to reach carbon neutrality. The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality’s recommendations call for the university’s campuses to reduce emissions and to use carbon offsets to become carbon neutral by 2025 and reduce total U-M emissions to net-zero by 2040.

“My first impression is that this is the type of thing that can move the University of Michigan from a laggard to a leader,” said Mike Shriberg, the Great Lakes Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation. He’s been critical of the university for taking so long to do something. Shriberg formerly was the Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the university.

Shriberg and a group called Voices for Carbon Neutrality have also called for a just and equitable plan that takes into account that people with lower incomes and people of color are disproportionately affected by climate change. They say the process has not been inclusive enough.

“To me, it’s how this will be implemented and will it be a process and will it be an outcome that is inclusive of diverse voices? It hasn’t been as much as it should be to date, but there’s plenty of time on the implementation side,” Shriberg said.

The 135 page draft document is online and the public can submit comments. In a statement, the commission said they want to know how the recommendations might affect a person’s daily experience, how actions might be received in the university community and how the steps might affect surrounding communities.

Editor's note: U of M holds Michigan Radio's license.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated U-M would be "free of greenhouse gas emissions." That is not correct and has been clarified to "reduce total U-M emissions to net-zero."

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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