Campus News

UW-Madison faculty calls for administrative support of a campus-wide climate action plan

UW-Madison faculty members are encouraging university administration to implement policy that will help campus become carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

UW-Madison faculty members adopted a measure last week calling for campus administrators to take action on climate change and limit the university’s carbon emissions.

The UW-Madison Faculty Senate passed a resolution to encourage funding and the implementation of a policy to help campus become carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner.

The plan, if enacted, will increase efforts to eliminate climate disruptions by attaining net zero emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, according to the resolution. The faculty is currently seeking administrative support.

In addition to efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the proposed program would hold the university accountable by reporting the progress of its sustainability goals to the UW-Madison community. The received funds would be used to promote UW-Madison’s outreach and research of conservation and environmental protection.

Leah Johnson, the Associated Students of Madison’s Sustainability Chair, said she helped draft the legislation for the climate action plan. Johnson said the faculty’s push for a carbon-neutral campus is a “huge step in the right direction.”

However, she said it is up to the administration to allocate funds to prioritize this plan.

“The [Faculty Senate] has the ability to influence the administration, but it is the job of the administration to act on it,” Johnson said. “What happens next as a follow up to the faculty’s passing of the carbon neutral plan will [show] what the university is actually prioritizing.”

Other UW-Madison student groups shared similar sentiments. Anders Shropshire, a spokesperson for the UW Climate Reality Project, said he feels the faculty’s resolution is a good way to address climate issues but the carbon neutral plan is not ambitious enough.

“We need to start reducing the [amount] of carbon in the atmosphere and not keep it at the same level. Climate Reality would like to see [a campus] that is 100 percent renewable and not just carbon neutral,” Shropshire said.

Shropshire said that he hopes that, in the future, “all campus electricity will come from renewable resources, such as wind and solar power” so that no carbon is emitted into the atmosphere at all.

“UW-Madison is a part of the carbon usage that is putting stress on our planet, as small as it may be,” Shropshire said. “It takes a mass global movement to address this problem. We cannot settle for just carbon neutrality. We have to push further.”

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