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USF St. Pete announces climate action plan

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sophia Wisniewska, the regional chancellor at USF St. Petersburg, announced Friday that the campus has created a climate action plan to help the university reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Wisniewska made her announcement as part of a press conference at St. Petersburg City Hall with Mayor Rick Kriseman. Kriseman set out the city’s next steps for converting the city to 100 percent renewable energy.

USFSP’s action plan, or CAP, will serve as a guide to help the university reach its sustainability goal of 50 percent carbon neutrality by 2035 and 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan, a set of goals and strategies that were developed by USFSP staff and students to reduce carbon emissions, reflects an extensive analysis of the campus’s 2014 greenhouse gas inventory and daily use forecast.

On Earth Day 2013, USFSP became a signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in recognition of the challenges that will be faced by waterfront communities as a result of global climate change. Meeting ACUPCC expectations and ranking in the Princeton Review Green Colleges guide are among the key performance indicators outlined in the university’s Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan, which the CAP aims to help satisfy.

“The creation and implementation of this plan is a huge step—not only for USFSP, but for the entire St. Petersburg community,” said Brian Pullen, sustainability coordinator at USFSP. “What is so special about the CAP is that it has taken a lot of hard work over the course of two years from several students, staff, researchers, and specialists within their respected fields.

“Together, we developed a feasible, yet aggressive, plan for guidance on how the university will foster innovative solutions to mitigate and adapt to 21st century global and environmental issues.”

The St. Petersburg City Council recently approved the city’s own Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP), which will serve as a road map to help the city transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. St. Petersburg will become the first city in Florida and 20th in the nation to commit to this goal.

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