McGill University is committing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, under its new Climate & Sustainability Action Plan (2017-2020).
The Action Plan lays out a number of specific initiatives to reduce McGill’s carbon footprint over the next three years. It also sets a long-term target of attaining by 2030 a Platinum sustainability rating – the highest possible rating under the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s STARS program.
“We knew that if we were going to address climate change on campus, we needed to think beyond 2020. That is why we set these long-term targets,” says McGill’s Sustainability Director, François Miller. “McGill’s extensive collection of heritage buildings, as well as our research-intensive profile, make these targets a unique challenge, but this new plan sets out a roadmap for the long journey ahead.”
An institution achieves carbon neutrality when the amount of greenhouse gases released is equivalent to the amount sequestered or offset. McGill’s own plan for carbon neutrality includes converting campus energy systems to zero-carbon sources, commuting policies and developing a waste reduction and diversion strategy to name a few.
McGill says it will eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions through significant carbon reduction and, to a lesser extent, carbon sequestration and carbon offsets. This amounts to the equivalent of taking 11,576 cars off the road.
The Action Plan outlines 22 short-term actions across five areas (Research, Education, Connectivity, Operations, and Governance & Administration).
Photo courtesy of McGill University