Sustainability Behind The Curve

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Although universities have long been envisaged as incubators of new ideas, in actuality they usually provide life support to concepts long-time passed. “The message could not be more clear,” Mark Tardif, Associate Director of College Communications, Unity College claims in a press release this month. “Every college or university that claims to be holding a ‘green’ commencement needs to have divested from investments in fossil fuels, or admit that they cannot truly make that claim.”

“As the first college in the United States to adopt sustainability science as its central focus, Unity College ascended to the leading-edge of higher education, training the next generation of environmental leaders to pursue trans-disciplinary solutions to the earth’s most pressing problems including global climate change.”

“With a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees in November of 2012, Unity also became the first institution of higher learning to divest from investments in fossil fuels.”

“There are no halfway measures when it comes to environmental claims,” Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at Unity College, stated. Tardif notes that Unity “with its own divestment in 2012 began a national movement of colleges and universities to divest.”

“To date, Sterling College in Vermont has also divested.  The College of the Atlantic in Maine and Hampshire College in Massachusetts are pursuing policies that while not divesting, are no longer investing in fossil fuels.  Other colleges including The University of Maine, University of New Hampshire and over 200 others have active student movements to encourage divestment.”

“Commencement exercises are among the most clear expressions of institutional values,” Khoury claimed.  “At this point the realities of what the burning of fossil fuels are doing to worsen the crisis of global climate change is undeniable.  Institutions of higher education cannot have it both ways, they cannot claim to be working for a sustainable earth and yet support the industry that is driving this planet to extinction.” Incidentally, much of the east coast is now expecting snow less than a week after spring began, and looking at another postponement of global warming.

Meanwhile, Townhall columnist Marita Noon reports:

  • “Going back a couple of months, on January 25, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a unanimous decision, found that the EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic ethanol and mandated the exaggerated fuel standards—confirming that ‘EPA’s renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.’ The nonexistent-fuel requirement is costing refiners $8 million dollars in fines paid to the federal government—which are passed on to consumers—due to the unreasonable 2012 mandate.
  • “Last month, regulators met in California ‘hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state’s network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy.’ The state is ‘running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas’ and now ‘it doesn’t have the right mix.’ Utility executives are predicting rolling brown outs as early as this summer. Other states with high dependence on wind and solar resources face similar problems.
  • “‘In a preemptive move to protect against possible court challenges,’ ‘an early step toward President Barack Obama’s second-term goal of cutting emissions linked to climate change has hit a snag.’ Reported on March 19: ‘The Obama administration is weighing changes to a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit emissions at new power plants.’ The EPA’s rule would ‘essentially ban new coal-fired power plants’—which ‘may not withstand legal scrutiny.’
  • “On March 20, another Solyndra-esque, government-funded solar panel manufacturer embarrassment came to light. SoloPower began the first round of layoffs just months after opening with a high-profile ribbon cutting and is now ‘selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.’ The story shows that ‘politicians are proving to be lousy venture capitalists with this and other green energy subsidies.’”


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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