On the heels of the release of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality’s final report, President Mark Schlissel expects to announce soon the university’s next steps toward achieving net-zero emissions.

“I am carefully reading the commission’s final report and will identify the action steps I would like to take immediately and will discuss those steps with the regents, the campus leadership teams and deans,” Schlissel said at the March 25 Board of Regents meeting.

“We anticipate being able to announce specific actions in the next month or two.”

Carbon neutrality is achieved when an institution reduces its quantifiable greenhouse gas emissions to “net-zero” — whereby remaining emissions are balanced by investments in carbon credits or removal/sequestration projects.

The carbon commission submitted its final report March 18 after a two-year process. The report includes a collection of 50 recommendations that U-M could take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions across the Flint, Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses, including Michigan Medicine.

Recommendations account for U-M’s Scope 1 emissions, resulting from on-campus sources like the Central Power Plant; Scope 2 emissions, resulting from purchased electricity; and Scope 3 emissions, resulting from indirect sources like commuting, food procurement and university-sponsored travel. 

The report outlines a pathway for U-M to:

  • Reach carbon neutrality for Scope 1 emissions across all three campuses by 2025 (inclusive of carbon offsets) and eliminate Scope 1 emissions entirely by 2040.
  • Achieve carbon neutrality for Scope 2 emissions across all three campuses by 2025 or earlier.
  • Establish, by 2025, carbon neutrality goal dates for Scope 3 emissions categories that are set for no later than 2040.
  • Deepen its commitment to environmental justice and strengthen its connections with local communities.

Recommendations were designed to be scalable, transferrable, financially responsible, and environmentally just.

“I know the final report and list of recommendations incorporates important input from our community, and there are many exceptional ideas in it,” Schlissel said. “I again thank all of the students, faculty, staff, advocates and partners who helped us arrive at this important milestone.”

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