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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Student demonstrators in the rainy weather protesting outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Tuesday.
Photos from April 23 protests
Published April 23, 2024

U should lead in conservation

The University could do more to utilize safe, alternative energy sources.

Last week The Daily newsroom documented the University’s efforts to save on energy costs by making use of and testing new forms of biomass fuels. The University should be applauded for these efforts. However, the University can do more to harness cost-effective renewable energy resources.

Without a doubt, one of the largest problems facing the world in this new millennium is global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have risen 13.3 percent since 1990, making the United States one of the leading contributors to global warming. The U.S. consumes 20 to 30 times more fossil fuel energy per capita than developing countries. Our unfortunate dependence on fossil fuels not only greatly contributes to global warming, but also begets a jingoist foreign policy.

As the largest employer and institution in Minnesota, the University has a prime opportunity to set a national example in energy conservation. The state has already mandated that all gasoline sold in Minnesota contain at least 20 percent ethanol by 2013. Why not go above and beyond these standards by requiring all University vehicles to run on E85 – a fuel consisting of 85 percent ethanol? Furthermore, as an internationally renowned research institution, the University could make major breakthroughs in the area of “green chemistry,” which focuses on more efficient and environmentally friendly energy production, if it would only devote more research to this field of study.

Minnesota is expecting one of its harshest winters in recent memory. With the ongoing war in Iraq and the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, energy costs certainly will skyrocket this winter. Everyone would do well to reduce energy consumption this winter.

By seeking out and utilizing new energy, the University has taken the first steps toward becoming a leader in energy conservation.

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