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Penn State Forms New Carbon Emissions Task Force

Penn State has formed a new task force that aims to reduce the university’s carbon emissions moving forward.

Since 2006, Penn State has cut university-wide carbon emissions by 35%, according to a release. However, there’s more work to be done, which is where the new task force comes in.

“Climate change is one of the most significant challenges of our time, affecting every aspect of our lives — from the weather to our food systems, economy and health,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Penn State is a leader in creating comprehensive solutions to mitigate the dangers of climate change. Not only do we have some of the best and brightest scientists working on these problems, but we are also committed to implementing climate-smart practices right here on our own campuses.”

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force will initiate both short and long-term objectives to mitigate the effects of climate change as a result of emissions from the twenty Penn State campuses.

“While Penn State has made good progress toward lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, scientific consensus suggests that we need to move faster,” said Robert Cooper, task force co-chair senior director of energy and engineering in Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant. “This task force will provide new focus on determining what our reduction goals should be and how and when we aspire to meet them.”

Cooper said Penn State pays more than $30 million annually to provide heat, air conditioning, hot water, and electricity to all campus buildings, as well as fuel for any university vehicles. The task force is aiming to implement and invest more heavily in renewable energy, fuel-efficient vehicles, and other sustainable projects.

Additionally, task force co-chair and professor Timothy White says Penn State has the potential to make a major impact as a state leader.

“We are geographically positioned to be a role model for sustainability across the commonwealth,” White said. “We can make a direct impact through our operations, as well as be a leader in developing a sustainable future for the residents of Pennsylvania.”

The task force purposefully brought on undergraduate and graduate students to help students “deal with the environmental consequences of the actions that my generation and previous generations have taken,” White said.

“By including students as members of the task force, we can gain insight into ideas they think will have an impact, help them to acquire marketable skills, and empower them to make a difference in the world,” White continued.

Penn State recently helped develop new solar farms in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The farms will provide about 25% of the university’s energy over the next 25 years and save it about $14 million.

The task force encourages any Penn State community member to connect or reach out with questions, comments, or ideas by emailing its members.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a first-year journalism major and one of Onward State's associate editors. She is from Richmond, Virginia and you can typically find her DoorDashing quesadillas or religiously listening to Harry Styles. If you would like to get into an argument about the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or via email at [email protected] The only correct answer is Kevin Jonas.

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