Indiana University student groups have been asking the university to make a plan to lower its greenhouse gas emissions for months. Now scientists and science advocates have joined that effort.
Concerned Scientists at IU and Advocates for Science at IU sent a letter to university administrators last week. The letter asks the university to examine how it affects the climate, commit to going carbon neutral by a set date, and create an inclusive climate task force to implement that plan.
Tim Londergan is a retired professor of theoretical physics and co-founded CSIU. He said the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report shows how dire the situation with climate change is and that addressing it requires the university to take visionary action.
Londergan said Indiana University has created groups to address climate change around the state, like the Environmental Resilience Institute.
“It's just a bit ironic that while we have people from ERI going out to all these communities and helping them set up climate action plans, the university itself doesn't have one," he said.
Londergan said IU is one of just three Big Ten universities that doesn’t have a plan to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.
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Siddharth Das is a junior at IU and president of Students for a New Green World — which would like to see the university go carbon neutral by 2040.
“Seeing action from other organizations — especially faculty and staff — has been really motivating to keep the momentum going and also just to show how much support there is for this," Das said.
Both the Bloomington Faculty Council and the Indiana University-Bloomington Graduate & Professional Student Government have passed resolutions asking the university to make a climate action plan.
IU President Pamela Whitten has asked her vice president to staff a climate action planning group.
Das said Students for a New Green World intends to keep protesting until the university commits to a plan.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.