The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality (PCCN) Spring 2020 Progress Report was recently released, and because this is a lengthy report at 38 pages, one of our Ambassadors asked us to summarize it and provide some possible actions they could take regarding the PCCN. So, while we encourage you to read the full report for yourself, we hope you will find this summary useful as a place to start.
Summary of the Interim Report
The report begins with some background information that, if you are familiar with the Commission and their charge, you can simply skip for now or skim as a reminder. The bulk of what we’d encourage you as an Ambassador to check out is on pages 7 to 11, which includes: a chart that summarizes the areas of analysis; a section on community engagement; and an outline of next steps for the Commission.
Areas of Analysis
The Areas of Analysis section is our first glimpse of what the Internal Analysis Teams researched. There is a chart that lays out the focus area or topic each team looked at, the scope of their analysis, and potential pathways for moving forward. Although we encourage you to read more than just this chart, for Ambassadors wanting to get a brief overview of the PCCN, this is a great summary. We found it especially helpful as an introduction to what the rest of the report would hold and what the Internal Analysis Teams viewed as important to highlight.
Pages 9 to 10 cover the PCCN’s community engagement activities to date. Reading through this list is a good way to familiarize yourself with their outreach efforts. And more importantly, if you see a gap in the list or an opportunity for additional outreach, you should definitely share your thoughts with the PCCN. Community engagement will be critical in Phase 3 of the Commission’s work, and it is crucial that our Ambassadors and community members get involved! The PBA program will aim to help Ambassadors know about opportunities to do so. In the meantime, if you want to be inspired by a highly-engaged, sustainability planning process, check out the Detroit Sustainability Action Agenda. Feel free to suggest your favorite ideas, from that work or otherwise, to our own PCCN.
We are now entering the third and final phase of the PCCN, when decisions are going to be made. This has been a long process encompassing the better part of 2 years. Although the PCCN’s recommendations will start to take shape soon, the comment portal remains open. We are especially looking forward to the final draft of the PCCN report, which will combine the work of all of the Internal Analysis Teams, and seeing the public comments that our Ambassadors leave to make this report the best version it can be!
For those of you who are interested in specific aspects of the internal analyses, you’ll find valuable information about each Internal Analysis Team, including its members and its charge, in the appendices. If you have a particular passion or expertise in any of the areas, it’s not too late to share your input with the team leads through the open comments portal!
Actions You Can Take as a Planet Blue Ambassador
So, what can you do as an Ambassador in response to the release of this report? We’ve listed a few ideas below and encourage you to try out one of them:
- Schedule some time during an upcoming department meeting to discuss the report with other staff members.
Discussion Questions: How familiar is everyone with the university’s plan to pursue carbon neutrality? How do you see yourself contributing to this goal? Which of our unit’s daily procedures are or aren’t conducive to reaching carbon neutrality?
- Encourage members of your green team or student organization to read the full report and share their thoughts.
Discussion Question: What are your main takeaways from the report? What would you want others to take away? How can your group take collective action to support the goals in this report?
- Share the report with friends and colleagues at other schools, and take a look at other university-wide carbon neutrality plans. Researching peer institutions is a great way to compare and contrast agendas.
Discussion Questions: What goals are other universities working towards, and what are their areas of analysis? Who from the university is leading the charge? How is the community being engaged? What other similarities or differences do you find?
After any of the above actions, send in all comments, thoughts, and feedback through the PCCN open comments portal on the Planet Blue website. Community input can be the most vital asset to the planning process and ensure that we arrive at a set of recommendations that our whole campus community can rally around.