University of Michigan OK’s “Net Zero” Carbon Emissions Plan Flint Ann Arbor Traverse City University of Michigan Carbon Dioxide
The University of Michigan on Thursday announced a plan to achieve net-zero carbon footprint status by 2050 for its $ 12.5 billion endowment. This includes shifting investments in fossil fuels to renewable energies.
The strategy approved by the University’s Council of Regency includes a commitment to move away from stakes in funds that primarily focus on the extraction of oil or thermal coal. It calls for new investments of USD 140 million in solar and wind developments and projects to limit CO2 emissions.
“The basic goal is to get carbon out of our entire investment portfolio,” said board member Mark Bernstein.
The plan does not promise an outright ban on fossil fuel-related companies, although University President Mark Schlissel told The Associated Press that they would gradually “go to zero.” The broader aim is to move away from those “who do not adequately and quickly consider the transition to a low-carbon economy”.
“There are significant greenhouse gas emissions outside of the energy sector, and net zero is by and large rather than targeting a single industry,” Schlissel said in a statement.
Numerous governments, companies and universities have committed to achieving a zero carbon footprint to reduce emissions of gases that store heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide, the main gas of this type, is released when fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are burned. Others like methane also contribute to warming.
“Net zero” generally means offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through other reductions. Under the University of Michigan plan, foundation holdings of carbon emitting assets would be offset with investments in carbon reductions by 2050.
The university will continue its current practice of not investing in the top 200 oil, gas, and coal companies or companies that extract tar sand oil, a thick, sticky substance that needs to be heated before being transported through pipelines to refineries.
Michigan’s new investment strategy follows the release of a report last week with further recommendations on how to achieve a zero greenhouse gas emission target at the Ann Arbor Dearborn and Flint locations. They range from installing more efficient heating and cooling systems to promoting the use of electric vehicles.