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McGill is committed to safeguarding our planet for future generations to come and implementing more sustainable practises for every day operations. Released in November 2017, the Vision 2020 Climate & Sustainability Action Plan (2017-2020) is designed to expand and enhance the Universitys commitment to sustainability. The Action Plan also outlines a number of initiatives to lower McGills own carbon footprint, and is the result of an extensive consultation process that engaged over 500 McGill community members.
To set the University on the right path, two long-term targets were set to guide the Action Plan: achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and attain a Platinum sustainability rating by 2030.
We knew that if we were going to address climate change on campus, we needed to think beyond 2020. That is why we set these long-term targets, says Sustainability Director, Francois Miller. Addressing a challenge like this arguably the defining challenge of a generation requires us to go towards a more longstanding vision of change.
McGills own plan for carbon neutrality includes strategies for campus energy systems, air travel, and commuting policies, among other emissions sources. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 means that McGill will eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions currently 54,060 tonnes through significant carbon reduction and, to a lesser extent, carbon sequestration and carbon offsets. This amounts to the equivalent of taking 11,576 cars off the road.
The Action Plan outlines twenty-two short-term actions across five areas (Research, Education, Connectivity, Operations, and Governance & Administration), many of which will move the University closer to achieving this goal by 2030. McGill also entered a new and exciting chapter this January by starting the consultation process leading to the Next Climate and Sustainability Strategy.
Actions under operations include addressing emissions from McGills fleet of vehicles, optimizing the environmental performance of campus buildings and developing a waste reduction and diversion plan.