The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday July 2nd

Letter: Guskiewicz must combat the climate crisis

Chancellor Guskiewicz,

As you assume your new and permanent post as the head of this University, it is critical that you make climate action one of your top priorities. 

With each passing year, the threat of climate catastrophe increases. It is crucial that UNC, as an institution of higher education and supposed leader of progress, takes a leading role in the confrontation of the climate crisis. It is essential for UNC to facilitate the education of the next generation of climate leaders, activists and change-makers; enact a comprehensive action plan to mitigate our direct contributions to the climate crisis; and invest in research aimed at combating the climate crisis.

It is not enough to make broad statements of support for sustainability initiatives. Sustainability must be transparently integrated into all aspects of decision-making, from construction and building maintenance to investment portfolio management. 

UNC has neglected to take meaningful action to combat the climate crisis for far too long. UNC continues to operate a coal-fired power plant, has failed to release a comprehensive Three Zeros Plan and has paved no clear path forward. 

It has been about three years since the Three Zeros Initiative was announced, yet no public plans, incremental steps or timelines have been released. As long as the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative is without a public plan that outlines actionable steps and financing, it cannot be held accountable and is thus indistinguishable from a greenwashing campaign.

Now is the time to reverse this University’s failure to take meaningful action on climate and sustainability issues; refusal to do so undermines UNC’s promise to be a source of enlightenment and support for future generations. Do not perpetuate a culture that jeopardizes the future and health of North Carolinians and their communities. 

We call on you to take immediate and comprehensive action, Chancellor Guskiewicz. We cannot afford to wait.

For our future,

Olivia Corriere '20

Zach Walker '20

Austin Snyder '22

Ella Carter '22

Owen Ryerson '22

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