The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government unanimously ratified a resolution at their Feb. 15 meeting calling on the Board of Regents to prioritize carbon neutrality efforts when searching for the next University president.
In the resolution, CSG urges the board to follow the recommendations from the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, which were released in March 2021. The commission was created in 2019 by then-University President Mark Schlissel and was tasked with facilitating the University’s transition toward a carbon-neutral campus. The six sponsors of the resolution asked that all potential U-M presidential candidates institute the PCCN’s recommendations.
The PCCN’s task force, which concluded its work in May of 2021, outlined a plan aimed at reaching carbon neutrality for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions across all three University campuses by 2025 and scope 3 carbon neutrality by 2040. Scope 1 emissions are those emitted directly by the University while scopes 2 and 3 are emissions from off-campus sources.
Kelly Jones, a Planet Blue ambassador coordinator, said in an email to The Michigan Daily the effects of climate change have a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.
“What makes this issue even more important to tackle is the fact that those impacts are not distributed equally,” Jones wrote. “Climate change is more harmful for BIPOC communities because it exacerbates already existing inequities.”
LSA sophomore Karthik Pasupula, one of the resolution’s co-sponsors, wrote in an email to The Daily that hiring a new University president introduces an opportunity for the University to treat climate change as a priority by choosing to hire someone with a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality.
“Following the PCCN’s recommendations isn’t just to show that the University is at the forefront of the country when it comes to addressing climate change, but it is also an instrumental step to prevent the catastrophic results of not doing so,” Pasupula wrote.
Rackham student Austin Glass said the University has a duty to combat climate change and “be the change it wants to see in the world.”
“The University of Michigan has a responsibility to the constituents of the state of Michigan who pay taxes and therefore fund this institution,” Glass said.
LSA freshman Emma Sklar, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, said she thinks the University is a great environment to promote carbon neutrality.
“Colleges and universities are effectively small cities that grant us the opportunity to showcase what a climate-friendly community can look like on a larger scale,” Sklar said.
Daily Staff Reporter Madison Kraft can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.