Pitt releases long-awaited climate plan


TPN File Photo

Aurora Sharrard, Pitt’s sustainability director, speaks at a 2019 town hall hosted by Student Government Board.

By Martha Layne, News Editor

Pitt released its climate plan on Thursday, detailing the University’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2037, the 250th anniversary of the University’s founding.

The University intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2008 levels by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2037. The Carbon Commitment Committee of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Sustainability developed the climate plan to build upon Pitt’s existing sustainability plan.

The plan has been delayed several times, with its release originally set for the first few months of 2021, according to a report from a Board of Trustees committee. The release was then pushed to last summer or early fall, but the plan still wasn’t out by October, raising concerns from some students.

The plan is largely divided into three parts — reducing energy demand, cleaning the existing supply and increasing low carbon connections. To reduce energy demand, the University plans to optimize building and campus use. By investing in clean and renewable energy, Pitt will be able to clean its existing supply of energy. The University also plans on increasing low carbon connections by increasing flex work arrangements, reducing air travel and shifting commuter modes to shared, low carbon options.

The University said it will update the climate action plan every five years until its carbon emissions are “in balance with the natural world.”

While finances, such as fossil fuel investments, are not included in the plan, the University said it will release its first Environmental, Social and Governance report later this spring. The report, originally due to be released last December, was still “in the process of being finalized” as of mid-February.