India Education Diary
Under its “Fast Forward” climate action plan, which was announced in May 2021, MIT has set a goal of eliminating direct emissions from its campus by 2050. An important near-term milestone will be achieving net-zero emissions by 2026. Many other colleges and universities have set similar targets. What does it take to achieve such a dramatic reduction?
Since 2014, when MIT launched a five-year plan for action on climate change, net campus emissions have been cut by 20 percent. To meet the 2026 target, and ultimately achieve zero direct emissions by 2050, the Institute is making its campus buildings dramatically more energy efficient, transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs), and enabling large-scale renewable energy projects, among other strategies.
“This is an ‘all-in’ moment for MIT, and we’re taking comprehensive steps to address our carbon footprint,” says Glen Shor, executive vice president and treasurer. “Reducing our emissions to zero will be challenging, but it’s the right aspiration.”
“As an energy-intensive campus in an urban setting, our ability to achieve this goal will, in part, depend on the capacity of the local power grid to support the electrification of buildings and transportation, and how ‘green’ that grid electricity will become over time,” says Joe Higgins, MIT’s vice president for campus services and stewardship. “It will also require breakthrough technology improvements and new public policies to drive their adoption. Many of those tech breakthroughs are being developed by our own faculty, and our teams are planning scenarios in anticipation of their arrival.”