Professor Testifies to Congress on Progress to Cut Carbon Emissions
A solar canopy tops the Regents Drive Garage, providing clean energy to power the university.
States, cities, businesses and universities are making important contributions to cutting carbon emissions in the United States, even without the federal government’s support of the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change, Professor Nathan Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability in the School of Public Policy, testified before Congress last week.
Speaking before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environmental and Climate Change, Hultman outlined findings from the most recent report funded by the America’s Pledge initiative. (The initiative was created by UMD spring commencement speaker Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Jerry Brown.) It focused on the critical role non-federal entities can play in setting and achieving climate goals, and how those can help lay the groundwork for a broader federal suite of policies. Hultman served as the lead author on the report and CGS co-led research with the Rocky Mountain Institute.
“Without federal action, they are the major remaining drivers for continued reductions in U.S. emissions,” he said.
Below are some of Hultman’s key points from the hearing.
The University of Maryland is among the non-federal actors committed to climate change action, and is making progress on its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2050. Under the university’s Climate Action Plan 2.0, UMD has already cut emissions by 49 percent since 2005. The plan includes the Carbon Neutral Air Travel Initiative, which offsets greenhouse gas emissions related to university air travel, as well as getting imported electrical energy exclusively from renewable sources, installing 10,000 solar panels on campus, planting more trees, capturing carbon from landfills, and ensuring that all new buildings have a carbon-neutral footprint. The university is also part of the Universities Climate Change Coalition.
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