Rutgers Climate Action Plan eyes carbon neutrality by 2040

Linda Lindner//September 29, 2021

Rutgers Climate Action Plan eyes carbon neutrality by 2040

Linda Lindner//September 29, 2021

In his second address to the University Senate on Sept. 24, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway announced the school’s commitment to a Climate Action Plan and the formation of the Office of Climate Action that will lead the efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

Jonathan Holloway, president, Rutgers University.

“Achieving these imperative goals will involve everyone in our university community and every aspect – from the day-to-day operations of the institution and our approach to facilities, policy and financial decision-making to Rutgers’ cutting-edge teaching, clinical services and research. Our success will also depend on our continued commitment to and strong relationships with our local communities, and the everyday actions of each one of us,” Holloway said.

The climate action plan was developed by the President’s Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience, a university-wide committee co-chaired by Rutgers climate scientist Bob Kopp and supply chain sustainability expert Kevin Lyons.

The Office of Climate Action will be co-directed by Kopp and Lyons along with Angela Oberg, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and administrative director of the president’s task force, serving as associate director. The office will be housed in the Office of University Strategy.

The plan – the culmination of 21 months of effort – outlines a strategy that will guide Rutgers through the next three decades.

The Climate Action effort will aim to achieve key milestones, including:

  • Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions associated with the university’s grid electricity purchases, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from on-campus fossil fuel consumption by 20% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with commuting, travel and the supply chain by 30% by 2030.
  • Eliminating emissions from on-campus fossil fuel combustion and becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
  • Becoming carbon negative – ensuring Rutgers removes more greenhouse gases than it emits into the atmosphere – by the university’s 275th anniversary in 2041.

“By making climate action – both within the university and more broadly – a key strategic priority, Rutgers has the opportunity to scale our efforts and join research and teaching to national, state and community climate action,” said Kopp.