TO THE EDITOR:
Meghan Corbet’s letter (“UNC can and must do more to wean itself from coal,” Oct. 13) requires factual corrections and more context about the University’s commitment to mitigating climate change.
The University has made a bold commitment through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to reach climate neutrality by mid-century.
Indeed, the University showed leadership by becoming an early signatory of the ACUPCC in 2007.
While the mid-century commitment may sound like a long time off, there are numerous activities underway that will get the University below year 2000 green house gas emissions by 2020.
It is important to note that the University’s commitment to reduce to 2000 year green house gas levels by 2020 is more stringent than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Category 1 (most aggressive) scenario.
The University’s program includes a long list of measures including making our buildings operate more efficiently, which is the surest and most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly. A complete list can be seen in the Climate Action Plan published on Sept. 15. The plan can be viewed at www.climate.unc.edu/portfolio/cap2009/view.
Contrary to Ms. Corbet’s assertion that the biomass project does not happen until 2025, the plan has this project commencing with testing of biomass materials as soon as they are available, which, according to potential suppliers, could be as early as early 2010.
It is also important to note that the University recently received an A-, the highest grade given, on the College Sustainability report card published by the Sustainable Endowment Institute, with an A in climate and energy.
Our coal burning facility is relatively new and clean. The Facility was recognized by the EPA Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Program with awards for “superior environmental performance” and for “significant fuel savings.”
We hope the campus community will support our aggressive efforts toward our goal of becoming climate neutral. The journey will not be easy.
Raymond E. DuBose