Campus Community Gathers To Discuss Ways To Slow Global Climate Change

Sunday, February 03, 2008

From a story by Jennifer Evans posted on Channel 3000:

MADISON, Wis. -- On Thursday, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists and business leaders introduced local and national solutions for climate change to students and members of the Madison community at UW-Madison.

The day-long activities marked the final day of Focus the Nation, a two-day nationwide teach-in on climate change uniting more than 1,600 college and university campuses across all 50 states.

"We live in an incredibly unique and defining moment in all of human history," said Jon Foley, director of UW-Madison's Center for Sustainability and Global Environment, as he addressed more than 200 audience members. "What you do today will affect our environment, our climate for thousands of years."

Cieslewicz introduced several city solutions he hopes will help Madison meet the "100K Clean Energy Challenge," a plan to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide by 100,000 tons by 2011. As part of this plan, city government officials will reduce their "carbon footprint" by 25 percent, or 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

To decrease Madison's carbon dioxide emissions, the mayor is working increase the energy efficiency of buildings, increase the use of biofuels in city vehicles and decrease Madison's dependency on local coal plants.

The mayor stressed even small city projects, such as the recent replacement of city traffic lights with LED lights, can make a big difference to the environment and save taxpayers money.

"(Replacing stoplights with LED lights) saves over 20,250 tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of taking 442 cars off the road," Cieslewicz said. "But it also saves more than a quarter-million dollars a year."