CSUN, UNLV’s student government, passed a resolution to begin work on a climate action plan for the university.
Senate Resolution 52-365 creates a committee to oversee the creation of an official climate action plan for UNLV. It was passed at the CSUN meeting on Aug. 1.
Zachary Billot, CSUN senator for the College of Liberal Arts, was the author of the resolution.
Billot said that a climate plan is basically a framework of environmental goals and policies that the university pledges to reach within a set amount of time. Caps on emissions, conversions to clean energy resources, mass recycling and energy efficiency are examples of the goals and policies that a climate plan includes.
“It’s just emphasizing our current climate situation,” said Billot, “and how the university plays a role in resource usage and our particular environment.”
According to Billot, the resolution only saw support, including the full support of University President Keith Whitfield. He noted that Whitfield’s support is especially important because UNLV staff members advocated for similar projects in the past that didn’t receive the president’s backing.
“I think we’re all very perceptive here that we are in a climate crisis,” said Billot, “especially in the Southwest, where we’re experiencing record drought and record-high temperatures. There are real implications of not taking action.”
Despite the support for the resolution, Billot tempered his expectations for the plan’s success. He realizes that with larger organizations, a lot of bureaucracy is often involved, which usually slows projects down. With this in mind, he is realistically optimistic about the climate plan’s prospects.
Billot hopes for the climate plan to have long-term success similar to Arizona State University (ASU), who first enacted their own action plan in 2007. ASU achieved multiple goals set in their initial plan, such as achieving carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 missions before 2025. This goal is realistic for Billot.
“I have full faith that we’ll be able to push it through the next nine months like the resolution asks,” said Billot, “and that we’ll be able to hold strong on that for the next 20 years, maybe more if it needs to.”