End Fossil Fuel Use at NIU
End Fossil Fuel Use at NIU
Why this petition matters
To: President Lisa Freeman, Provost Beth Inghram, members of the senior leadership team, and members of the Board of Trustees,
Recent increases in extreme heat, annual precipitation, and extreme weather events are just the beginning of rapid changes occurring across our region because of global climate change. In the near future, we can expect climate change to impact nearly all aspects of our lives in Illinois; infrastructure, the economy, our energy systems, water and natural resources, agriculture and food systems. It will also continue to widen inequalities in all aspects of our lives, including the lives our students and the communities they are from. The 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” Climate change jeopardizes NIU’s core missions of education, research, and service to local and global communities, and should be a cause for rapid action. NIU can honor its commitment to social and environmental justice by prioritizing rapid action on climate change and ending our reliance on fossil fuels.
Therefore, we call on the President and other leaders at NIU to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy for NIU campuses by no later than 2045, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the university. To do this, we ask that the university do the following:
- Commit to a specific date to achieve carbon neutrality:
- Develop a climate action plan for its campuses
- Establish a timetable for this change
- Adopt specific climate action and sustainability policies by the end of 2023 to begin this transition
Essential elements for this transition include procuring additional renewable sources for secure campus energy; implementing grid-level energy storage to solve the intermittency problem; prioritizing equitable treatment of and support for impacted workers and community members; and fostering positive environmental outcomes for ecosystems.
We realize that moving beyond fossil fuels to sustain our critical teaching and research missions is going to require massive commitment. However, as a major undergraduate and research campus, we have an obligation to live up to our commitments to social and environmental justice, which includes climate action. If we cannot do this, who will?
NIU and other institutions need to take leadership to end greenhouse gas emissions if we want to have a fighting chance to limit global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius. This is a political and leadership challenge, not a technical challenge. We call upon NIU to take a stand for rapid, meaningful climate action by ending its fossil fuel use.
If you would like to be part of a group of students, faculty, staff, and alum working to end fossil fuel use on campus, please reach out to NIUsustainability@gmail.com.