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Dartmouth College announces revised plan to decarbonize campus

A man wearing blue crocs and a woman walk from the right to the left. In the background, a brick campus building.
Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Students cross the campus of Dartmouth College, Tuesday, March 5.

Dartmouth College announced Monday it's investing $500 million into efforts to cut climate warming emissions on campus, which officials say is the largest sustainability investment in the college's history.

The revised plan sets a new goal of reducing campus carbon emissions by 60% by 2030. It’s goal of 100% campus decarbonization by 2050 is unchanged.

Josh Keniston is vice president of campus operations. He says a large portion of this investment will go towards things like improving building insulation and installing large scale heat pumps.

Keniston says the plan also introduces something called the Dartmouth Climate Collaborative.

"[The] Dartmouth Climate Collaborative is really about bringing together the operational work that we do on our own campus, the academic work, the research and teaching that our faculty and students do, and then partnership with the town of Hanover, and bring all of those pieces together to elevate and accelerate the impact that we're having on addressing climate change," Keniston says.

A 2019 proposal to build a biomass plant to cut emissions drew criticism. Keniston says that is no longer planned.

“The concept of how it becomes carbon neutral, is that, you know, if you burn wood, that those trees grow back, and over the course of them going back, they recapture the carbon," Keniston says. "Well, if that cycle takes 30 years, but all of the research is saying that you actually need to lower absolute emissions sooner than that, then it really doesn't accomplish our goals.”

More from New Hampshire Public Radio: Opponents To Biomass Plant Ask Dartmouth To Consider Other Options

More than 300 U.S. universities and colleges have publicly pledged they will be carbon neutral by 2050, according to Reuters.

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