A new climate change action plan to address local and global challenges – @theU

I am thrilled to announce that the University of Utah is creating a new climate change action plan and reinvigorating efforts to build a healthy and resilient future.

Climate change continues to cause and intensify local and global challenges. Here in Utah, we just experienced the hottest summer on record, the Great Salt Lake reached its lowest level on record, and historically marginalized members of our community are feeling the consequences of these changes more intensely. Fortunately, the University of Utah is well positioned to meet the needs of our students, employees, patients, and the surrounding community.

In 2008, university leaders first signed the Presidents’ Commitments to Climate Leadership, which demonstrate the university’s commitment to addressing climate change and its impacts. I am proud to say that we have accomplished a lot since then. As Utah’s flagship institution of higher education, we are committed to developing the knowledge and research needed to address climate change in our state, with 78% of our departments integrating sustainability into the curriculum and 65% conducting sustainability research. We have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 31% and more than 50% of our electricity comes from renewable sources. I am grateful for the leadership and hard work of everyone who helped us get here, including the Office of Sustainability, U facilities, and countless other students, faculty, and staff. I am also excited about the recent launch of our Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policywhich studies policies and solutions that combat the threats of climate change.

There is much to celebrate and important work remains to be done. Recognizing that we must act as soon as possible, I am extending the target date for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from 2050 to 2040. The new Climate Change Action Plan will help us achieve this goal by outlining bold steps towards a more sustainable and sustainable economy. fair future, including:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Prepare for the impacts of climate change;
  • Train future leaders in sustainable development; and
  • Support cutting-edge climate research.

Here at the U, we understand that sustainability isn’t just about the environment—it is also a matter of economic security and social equity. Prioritizing the needs and voices of individuals and communities most affected by climate change is a core value in our approach to this work. That’s why our climate change action plan will provide clear and achievable steps for the university to achieve carbon neutrality and other climate change goals while centering equity at every step of the process. planning and implementation.

As we plan the next phase of action on climate change, we need your help. This semester, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback in person and virtually, and tell us what you want the U to prioritize in our response to climate change.

Please help shape the plan by taking a moment to complete this survey and join a virtual and in-person roundtable to give your opinion.

Climate change affects us all, and our best response is one informed directly by the voices of our university and the surrounding community, especially those most affected.

Thank you for your support.

Taylor Randall, President

Teresa H. Sadler