The S.E.E.D. Initiative

Climate Action Plan Committee On Our Way!

I wanted to give an update on the Climate Action Plan (CAP) development process. On April 24th, I posted a blog about the CAP we are developing under the Presidents’ Climate Commitment President Jacobs signed in 2009. By signing this commitment, UT pledged itself to becoming climate neutral, meaning we emit no greenhouse gases or we have found ways to offset the gases we do emit. One of the requirements of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment is to create a Climate Action Plan (CAP) based on our Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This past January we completed the inventory and are now in the process of beginning the CAP. As you may remember, that blog post was to inform the community about our firs public meeting which we held at the end of April.

After that meeting, SEED worked to form the committee that will be charged with creating the document that will lead the University for the next several decades towards climate neutrality. We tried to ensure we had representation from across the University to ensure we create a plan that has UT community support.  The committee has representatives from the SEED Initiative, Finance & Purchasing, Energy Management, Environmental Services & Recycling, Purchasing, Grounds & Transit, Provost & Academic Affairs, Government Relations, Community Wellness & Health Promotion, Student Experiences, Institutional Research, Dining Services & Aramark, External Affairs, and the President’s Office. It includes faculty from many different disciplines including Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Physics, Environmental Sciences, Business, and Sociology & Anthropology. It also includes student representatives from the Student Government, the Student Green Fund, and the Environmental Graduate Students organization. We even have a City of Toledo representative in order to continue the great partnerships we have with the COT.

We are currently working to find a time that will work for everyone to officially meet around mid-July! At our first meeting we will go over our purpose, create goals and parameters, go over our timeline, answer questions, and then we will assign tasks to be completed before the next meeting. I will be sure to blog after our first meeting to keep you informed on the planning process. You can also stay up to date on the CAP’s development by checking out our CAP page where you’ll find more information on our timeline and where we will post our documents as they become available. And if you missed the first public meeting, there will be more to come so that you can have a say in the CAP process for UT.

If you have questions or comments about the Climate Commitment, the CAP, or anything else, please do not hesitate to send them our way at We would love to hear from you!

is Brooke Mason, Sustainability Specialist for The University of Toledo, manages the Rocket Recycling program for over 100 buildings on three campuses with a staff of one non-student and six student employees. She is also responsible for the greenhouse gas inventory and the Climate Action Plan, which guide the University toward climate neutrality. Brooke is highly involved in sustainability education and outreach towards students including advising the Environmental Sustainability Living Learning Community, Society for Environmental Education, and UT’s Student Green Fund. She runs other student sustainability programs including Rockets Recycle: Green Tailgating, Friday Night Lights, RecycleMania, Campus Conservation Nationals, BlackoUT, and the Give & Go: Move Out program. Brooke has earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy & Sustainability Management from Bowling Green State University and is currently working on her Masters in Engineering at UT. She also sits on the Stewardship Committee for the Black Swamp Conservancy.
Email this author | All posts by

One Response to “Climate Action Plan Committee On Our Way!”

  1. ajorgen Says:

    The Relationship Between Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration and Temperature:

    This posting is given in reply to some questions asked of Brooke by a reader of the blog.

    The presence of carbon dioxide and other gases called greenhouse gases causes a strong effect on the temperature of the earth’s land and water. In fact, if we did not have such gases, including water vapor, the average temperature of the earth would be below the freezing point of water!

    Life on earth is possible due to these greenhouse gases which interact with sunlight to produce an annual and global average temperature of about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. In just over 100 years this global average has increased by about 1.5 degrees F, but some locations have seen a 4.5 degree increase.

    From scientific data it can be reasonably concluded that the recent temperature increase for both land and water has been primarily caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from 300 to 400 parts per million in less than 100 years. Most of this increase in carbon dioxide has come from the burning of fossil fuels that have been buried under ground for milllenia.

    For the continental United States, 2012 had the highest temperatures directly recorded. For the whole earth, 2010 temperatures tied the highest directly recorded temperatures.

    The earth has been warmer in the past, though not for many thousands of years. Previous warm periods were often caused by the position and tilt of the earth in its passage around the sun. One such cycle lasts 21,000 years. Just as in present times the Southern Hemisphere is warmer than the Northern Hemisphere in the months we consider winter due to the tilt, even slight changes in the earth’s relative position can cause significant temperature changes. But the present changes are not due to that reason as such movements happens only over very long times and evidence does not support such a conclusion for recent changes.

    During long-ago periods of a warm earth, the higher temperatures can cause some of the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the oceans to be released and enter the atmosphere. This effect is just like the warming of a carbonated beverage losing some of the gas when the drink is warmed up. This increase in carbon dioxide in the air then caused a further increase in the temperature of the land due to the greenhouse effect. This latter increase in historical times has been much longer than the initial temperature increase caused the release of the gas from the oceans.

    So the relationship between carbon dioxide and the temperature of the earth is complicated. But the recent 33% increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere has not been seen for hundreds of thousands of years as has been determined by analyzing the bubbles trapped in ice during that period.

    The earth has been warmer in the past, but not for many, many years. And in those warmer times there was not the issue of billions of humans trying to adapt to rapidly changing temperatures as we have now, with subsequent changes in crops, insects and, in the not too distant future, significant increases in sea level. The latter is extremely important given the propensity of humans for living near the ocean. In fact, for the US, half of the population lives in a county which has an ocean coastline.

    For more information you can read about this and other climate phenomenon at the website Real Climate ( ), which is an authoritative source with extensive scientific documentation. This particular question is addressed in a posting at this URL ( )

    Questions are invited from any readers of the blog – either post the question or send it directly to me for a reply.

    Andy Jorgensen,
    Associate Professor

Leave a Reply

About SEED

The University of Toledo’s SEED Initiative, housed within but not limited to Facilities & Construction, focuses on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design to ensure the University is operating in a manner that betters our neighbors, economy, and planet. Through environmental sustainability projects, energy conservation measures, innovative building renovation and design, and a comprehensive educational campaign, SEED commits itself to leaving behind a better planet than when we started.

Recent Posts



UT Journals

Search All Journals