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December 6, 2017

McGill outlines plan to reach Carbon neutrality by 2040

On Dec. 1, McGill University launched its Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. As the product of the Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy’s consultations with over 500 McGill community members, the Action Plan outlines two long-term goals for the university: Obtaining a Platinum Ranking from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)—an organization that assigns institutions sustainability scores based on their environmental performance—by 2030, and achieving carbon-neutrality by 2040. Last year, McGill earned a Gold ranking from STARS for increasing its integration of sustainability in curriculum, research, dining services, and purchasing.

Beyond these primary goals are a multitude of more specific action items, like the promotion of sustainable modes of commuting through the introduction of a new bike centre, upgrading the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical systems in old buildings, and electrifying McGill’s fleet of vehicles. At the launch event, staff from the McGill Office of Sustainability outlined  McGill’s sustainability strategy for the coming years.

When strategizing the Action Plan, McGill Sustainability Director François Miller strove for pragmatism. He intends to provide students, faculty, and administrators with recommendations to inspire community involvement, which is crucial for ensuring the Plan’s success.

“We’re both serious and humble in what we are presenting in this Climate and Sustainability Action Plan,” Miller said. “These are not just dreamy ideals that we are putting there. We have a concrete action plan to achieve those long-term targets, but we are humble in the sense that we know this goes beyond what the Office of Sustainability can do. We need the involvement of the students and staff and faculty members in order to achieve these targets.”

Vision 2020 Coordinator Amelia Brinkerhoff hopes that students will be excited about the proposed changes, and continue acting to mitigate carbon emissions on McGill campuses.

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