The University of Minnesota continues to make significant progress in becoming more sustainable and reaching the goals set by the Board of Regents, which aim to have the school reach zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
According to the University’s 2014 Operations Sustainability report and a presentation to the board last month, the Twin Cities campus has diverted nearly half of its waste from the trash stream through its recycling and composting programs. It has also saved more than $28 million in costs by improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources.
These and other initiatives have led to a 25 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since 2008.
Given recent reports of a temporary slowdown in global warming, the University’s progress illustrates its commitment to reducing its environmental impacts based on a long-term outlook, rather than short-term trends.
The slowdown may have “lulled” some “into a false complacency,” Penn State researcher Michael Mann recently told the Minnesota Daily. Mann, along with University researchers, recently published a study that confirmed the role of human emissions in global warming despite the current lull.
By continuously improving its sustainability as an institution, the University is setting a great example, paving the way for other schools, organizations and individuals to follow. We applaud the University’s efforts, and we hope to see these efforts sustained so the school reaches its goal of zero net emissions.