President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality
On Feb. 4, 2019, President Schlissel appointed the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality. The commission is the core team that will recommend how the University of Michigan will achieve its goal of carbon neutrality, as well as develop scalable and transferable strategies that can be used by other institutions and larger communities to achieve the same goal.
The U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, and its advisory panels, brings together the U-M community and regional partners to develop recommendations for how to reduce U-M’s carbon emissions to levels that are environmentally sustainable, in a fiscally responsible manner and in the context of its mission of education, research, service and patient care.
The scope of the charge to the advisory committee to the president spans all three U-M campuses – Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn – and includes, but is not limited to: carbon emissions and sequestration; energy sourcing; technology development and policy change; facilities, operations and mobility; and behavioral change.
The commission’s membership includes faculty, students, administrators and local partners.
Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, and Stephen Forrest, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and former vice president for research at U-M, will serve as co-chairs of the commission.
Because broad input is critical to the development of the recommendations, the commission will create several advisory panels to provide various perspectives and expertise, and to serve as a forum for connecting with key stakeholder groups.
The panels include: the Student Advisory Panel; the Faculty Expert Advisory Panel; the University Advisory Panel; and the External Advisory Panel. The panels will be organized by the commission co-chairs as the commission gets underway.
U-M has a long-standing commitment to sustainability at the highest levels in education, research, operations and engagement.
Several centers and institutes have served as key partners in U-M sustainability and will be drawn on by the commission to inform their work, including the Erb Institute, Michigan Energy Institute, the Graham Sustainability Institute, Institute for Social Research and core academic units such as the School for Environment and Sustainability and College of Engineering.
The commission will begin its work quickly to define carbon neutrality in the context of the U-M, as well as set a timeline and recommend strategies to achieve that goal. The recommendations will include ways in which all members of the university community can participate and share the responsibility for U-M’s success.
The commission is expected to share an initial interim report in the fall 2019, a second interim report in spring 2020 and final recommendations to the president in fall 2020.
While this important work gets underway, the university remains committed to reaching its current campus goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025, and even exceed it ahead of schedule.
At the University of Michigan, we have the knowledge and power to leave future generations with a planet that has the same potential to support life and human activity as the one we all inherited. We can address the issue of sustainability from a very broad base of research and education perspectives, as well as through the actions we take as a community of more than 80,000 individuals. Planet Blue represents our unified commitment to sustainability education, research and campus operations.