Penn State conference explores reducing greenhouse gas emissions … to zero

From 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 11, over 70 Penn State staff, students, and faculty members will attend a conference on Penn State’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to conference organizer Jonathan Brockopp, the goal is “to begin imagining a workable plan to achieve zero effective emissions by 2050.”

Brockopp, associate professor of history at Penn State, is affiliated with the Rock Ethics Institute. He explained that “Penn State has an obligation toward our students and our community to model ethical leadership in a warming world.”

Keynote speakers for the conference are Rob Cooper, director of energy and engineering for the Office of Physical Plant and Steve Maruszewski, assistant vice president for the Office of Physical Plant.

Participants represent a broad cross-section of the University community, including representatives from the colleges of Liberal Arts, Arts and Architecture, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Business, Engineering, Schreyer Honors College and Penn State Law, in addition to staff members and some community representatives.

Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, remarked, “Penn State is already a leader in greenhouse gas reduction,” pointing to the University’s plan to cut emissions 35 percent, compared with 2005 levels by 2020. Aiming for zero effective emissions is just a continuation of that pledge.

Penn State is the home for several renowned climate scientists and a leader in research on alternative energy. Brockopp said, “with all these great scientists, and with our University’s commitment to ethics, it is only natural that we would want to be on the cutting edge of finding solutions to this problem.”

Co-sponsors for the conference include the Sustainability Institute, the Rock Ethics Institute and the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs.

While the conference is fully enrolled, interested members of the community are encouraged to comment online at the event's blog, follow the conversation on Twitter using #PSUGet2Zero, or join the Facebook group.

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Last Updated April 10, 2014