CO2 just “Small Potatoes?”

Emily CuttâÄôs Jan. 24 article, “A cocktail of gas, oil and coal,” shines a strangely favorable light on the UniversityâÄôs steam plant. ItâÄôs great the University saved $120,000 by lowering heating over winter break, and itâÄôs superb they have cut down coal use over previous years, but Jerome Malmquist saying our carbon dioxide contribution is “small potatoes” compared to other universities is no way for a leading institution of research and innovation to respond to climate crisis.

We burn 40,000 tons of coal each year, pollute our air, water and hurt neighboring communitiesâÄô health. This is necessary? Yes, the University may burn smaller amounts of harmful fuel than Michigan State University, but we are still burning it.

And we are still behind many other universities in carbon neutrality. For example, Penn State University declared they would be carbon neutral by 2014. The University of Minnesota promises neutrality by 2050. Most students at the University will be nearing retirement age by then, while Penn State will reach neutrality by the time the current first-year class graduates. If weâÄôre such “small potatoes,” then why not make the change from 30 percent dirty energy to 0 percent and uphold our name as a leader in innovation by implementing the many clean energy sources available?