In honor of International Day of Climate Action, University Park Undergraduate Association President Zachary McKay released a video promoting specific steps Penn State could take to further combat climate change.
After acknowledging the effects of climate change on “Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities" in his video to the Penn State community, McKay (senior-economics) focused on a petition created by the Penn State Climate Action Coalition.
The petition, which had over 880 signatures as of Saturday, calls on Penn State to take specific steps to limit its carbon footprint and invest in sustainability.
As stated in McKay's video, Penn State committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and has been investing in renewable energy, but the petition calls on the university to set bigger goals.
The petition asks Penn State to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions between 2030 and 2040, and to “divest from fossil fuels and invest in the green economy.”
Additionally, the petition calls for the university to “prioritize research efforts” for carbon-capture technology, carbon sequestration and carbon neutral fuels; invest in renewable energy sources and zero-emissions transportation; reallocate part of the student fee toward sustainability initiatives; and further incorporating sustainability into the existing curriculum.
Finally, the petition asks Penn State to create a “Climate Action Committee made up of Penn State experts” — which McKay said will include faculty, staff and students — to “study, set policy, assess and publish progress on our climate achievements.”
McKay said the demands listed in the petition can only be achieved through cooperation between administrators, the Faculty Senate, the Student Fee Boards, student governments and the student body.
McKay said he will ask UPUA to pass a resolution endorsing the petition. McKay said he asked students to sign the petition, and asked any organizations they are a member of to formally endorse the petition.